While this story isn’t the strongest of Stilton spinoffs, the familiarity of the characters, art and design will appeal to...

FRIGHT NIGHT

From the Creepella von Cacklefur series , Vol. 5

Geronimo Stilton and Creepella von Cacklefur team up to solve a mystery at a scary-poetry contest.

During one of Geronimo’s visits to Mysterious Valley, he is drafted as one of the judges for the Fright Night poetry contest. One of the finalists is Creepella’s father, Boris von Cacklefur. This is poet Boris’ first time competing in a poetry contest since Chester Cheater stole Boris’ entry for a fourth-grade contest. In fact, Boris would not be competing at all had his family not entered him without his knowledge. The contest’s first rounds weed out competitors: There’s an impromptu Rotten Rap, spooky Mind-Bending Riddles and a one-word prompt for a one-minute–poem-composition event called Terror Time. The wordplay and rhymes may not be high art, but they will entertain their target audience. After the three rounds, Boris progresses to the final round against six-time winner, the Fright Night Idol, Brad Balladeer. The interchangeable Rattenbaum triplets support Brad. During the intermission before the final round, Geronimo spies Brad and the triplets acting suspiciously right before Boris goes missing. Creepella and Geronimo, convinced it isn’t stage fright, meander after clues to successfully solve the obvious mystery.

While this story isn’t the strongest of Stilton spinoffs, the familiarity of the characters, art and design will appeal to readers. (maps) (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-39349-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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