Adequate for its audience.


From the Geronimo Stilton and the Kingdom of Fantasy series , Vol. 7

The latest in the Kingdom of Fantasy series sends Geronimo Stilton on a scavenger hunt for magic items to stop an evil wizard.

Plagued by his own success writing fantasy novels based on his wild dreams, Geronimo Stilton finds himself mobbed in public for autographs and then in private pressured by his friends and family to hurry up and write the next one. But before he can write, he needs to dream the next story, which leads to a comical series of events as his sleep is continually thwarted. Finally, after joining his nephew on a beach visit, he falls asleep and ends up in the Kingdom of Fantasy. While it’s a stand-alone story, there is also a concise rundown of his previous adventures. The fairy queen, Blossom, sends a crab messenger to deliver a mission to Geronimo. He must collect the seven enchanted charms from their guardians before an evil wizard can steal and use them to conquer the land. Although the plot makes good use of the various fantasy settings (resulting in lovely maps), it’s not terribly original or engaging on its own. The crab sidekick, Chatterclaw, is an entertaining mix of cheerful pessimism and questionable judgment, though his forgetful speech pattern wears thin. The art throughout goes beyond bolstering the story, offering a variety of interactive puzzles.

Adequate for its audience. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-74615-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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Dizzyingly silly.


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.


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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