Thrilling and touching in equal measure.

FENRIS & MOTT

“Things done could not be undone. Things destroyed could not be undestroyed. But sometimes they could be fixed.”

There’s a lot Mott, a young girl of Indonesian and Dutch descent, doesn’t expect about the abandoned puppy she finds. She doesn’t expect to be able to keep him. She doesn’t expect him to be a wolf. And she certainly doesn’t expect that wolf to be Fenris of Norse mythology: god-foe, moon-eater, ender of worlds. The very universe seems destined for destruction, brought about by Fenris, but Mott made a promise to keep Fenris safe, and she knows only too well the pain of broken oaths. In this Rick Riordan–esque epic, modern and ancient worlds collide in a vividly sketched adventure that begs to be adapted for the screen. The exhilarating pace comes somewhat at the expense of characterization. Only toward the very end, however, does this cause some believability to be lost as deeper emotions and motivations and some themes remain loosely explored. Still, the text strikes a remarkable balance between the hollowness of inevitable destruction and the hope hiding within the darkest voids. Unlike with most stories of this type, readers will at times be utterly convinced that Mott will fail, which only makes her determination to do right by her vows more rewarding to witness. The idea of the downfall of the world feels all too relevant, and the book imparts a subtle warning to readers that while the inevitable may be delayed, it can never truly be reversed.

Thrilling and touching in equal measure. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-297063-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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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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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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