From the Adventures of Jo Schmo series , Vol. 1

Lighter-than-air superhero fun.

The wacky origin story of a fourth-grade girl superhero from the author of the Melvin Beederman, Superhero series.

Jo Schmo's normal life of skateboards and crushes is cast aside with the arrival of a mysterious package from her Uncle George (who is actually her mother's second cousin, once removed on account of being stinky). Ready to retire from his life as a superhero, Uncle George bequeaths his cape to Jo so that she may take up the calling. But she's a little girl, and the cape is too long—the piece Grandpa Joe cuts off makes a perfect cape for her loyal dog and now sidekick, Raymond. The cape gives the duo superpowers—strength for Jo and heroic amounts of drool for Raymond. Luckily, Jo has a capable mentor in Grandpa Joe, a retired sheriff. But soon they must face the mad scientist, super-villain Dr. Dastardly, and his latest invention for evil: the Re-animator Laminator. The zany writing wavers between slapstick and tongue-in-cheek. The edge is taking off the fighting part of crime-fighting through silly attack names like "Russian Toe Hold" and "Siberian Ear Tweak." Dormer's movement-oriented illustrations complement the fast pace of the story and suit the comical tone, as well.

Lighter-than-air superhero fun. (Adventure. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-76341-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012


From the Kondo & Kezumi series , Vol. 1

A story of friendship that is both lively and lovely

Two friends embark upon a high-seas adventure.

Kondo, a large lemon-colored creature with wide round eyes, spends his day on his island home with his best friend, tangerine-hued Kezumi. Together, they frolic on their idyllic isle picking berries (tall Kondo nabs the higher fruit while Kezumi helps to retrieve the lower) while surrounded by tiny “flitter-birds” and round “fluffle-bunnies.” One day, Kezumi finds a map in a bottle that declares “WE ARE NOT ALONE.” Inspired by visions of a larger world, Kondo and Kezumi fashion a boat from a bathtub and set sail. The pair visits fantastical islands—deliciously cheese-laden Dairy Isle, the fiery and fearsome Fireskull Island—until they eventually settle upon the titular Giant Island, where they meet Albert, a gigantic gray talking mountain who is—obviously—unable to leave. Enthralled by his new friends, Albert wants them to stay forever. After Albert makes a fraught decision, Kondo and Kezumi find themselves at a crossroads and must confront their new friend. Goodner and Tsurumi’s brightly illustrated chapter book should find favor with fans of Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen’s similarly designed Mercy Watson series. Short, wry, descriptive sentences make for an equally enjoyable experience whether read aloud or independently. Episodic chapters move the action along jauntily; the conclusion is somewhat abrupt, but it promises more exploration and adventures for the best friends. (This review was originally published in the June 1, 2019, issue. The book data has been updated to reflect changes in publisher and date of publication.)

A story of friendship that is both lively and lovely (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02577-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020


From the Adventures of Henry Whiskers series , Vol. 1

Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle (1965) upgrades to The Mice and the Rolls-Royce.

In Windsor Castle there sits a “dollhouse like no other,” replete with working plumbing, electricity, and even a full library of real, tiny books. Called Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, it also plays host to the Whiskers family, a clan of mice that has maintained the house for generations. Henry Whiskers and his cousin Jeremy get up to the usual high jinks young mice get up to, but when Henry’s little sister Isabel goes missing at the same time that the humans decide to clean the house up, the usually bookish big brother goes on the adventure of his life. Now Henry is driving cars, avoiding cats, escaping rats, and all before the upcoming mouse Masquerade. Like an extended version of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904), Priebe keeps this short chapter book constantly moving, with Duncan’s peppy art a cute capper. Oddly, the dollhouse itself plays only the smallest of roles in this story, and no factual information on the real Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is included at the tale’s end (an opportunity lost).

Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6575-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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