This humorous new series is sure to appeal to fans of Daneshvari and other lovers of the ludicrous.

THE LEAGUE OF UNEXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN

From the League of Unexceptional Children series , Vol. 1

Below-average middle schoolers Jonathan and Shelley have one ability that makes them, well, not stand out but rather blend in: they are utterly unremarkable.

It is this quality that makes them ideal recruits for the top-secret League of Unexceptional Children, an organization of kid and teen spies dedicated to protecting national security. As recruiter Hammett explains, “You are right there in the world's blind spot.” So it is that these preteens bravely answer the call of duty to find the culprit who has kidnapped the vice president of the United States and, with him, the code that could bring destruction to all, no matter how dull or exceptional. With this promising premise, Daneshvari delivers hilarious shenanigans and moments of verbal delight, as when giving a very specific order to a fast-food cashier (“a double dog with a side of mustard, two sides of relish, a can of diet Fanta, fourteen packets of ketchup, two straws, and seven napkins”) yields the protagonists entry to an oversized fridge, pushing on the back of which allows them into the league’s HQ; as Shelley puts it, “It’s kind of like Narnia, only with a lot of pork products.” These moments will help readers past the occasional odd jerks of the plot that make the story at times difficult to follow.

This humorous new series is sure to appeal to fans of Daneshvari and other lovers of the ludicrous. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-40570-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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