An imaginative adventure filled with humor and heart.

THE PIRATE CODE

From the Hook's Revenge series , Vol. 2

After defeating Neverland’s crocodile (Hook’s Revenge, 2014), Jocelyn, Capt. Hook’s daughter and heir, sets her sights on finding Hook’s hidden treasure.

Confounded by the encoded treasure map, Jocelyn and her friend Roger, attempt to distract themselves with other dangerous adventures, but the pull of untold riches proves too much to ignore. Unfortunately, the evil Capt. Krueger also hears the siren call of ill-gotten booty. Desperate to win the race for the gold, Jocelyn seeks help from the annoying Peter Pan. When he refuses, Jocelyn and her ragtag crew decide to abduct Pan’s mother, Evie. But Jocelyn soon discovers that their prisoner is not what she originally thought. Neverland touches multiple timelines, meaning one never knows whom one might meet. Sneaky humor, surprising twists, and an outrageously irreverent take on the familiar Neverland tale combine to great effect. Jocelyn’s bravery, loyalty to her crew and her family, and love for adventure make her a terrific heroine. And while Jocelyn’s wild adventure is filled with raucous pirates, snippy fairies, and a terrifying villain, there are also quiet moments. After all, Jocelyn is not only a pirate captain, but an orphan, a friend, and a girl looking toward her future.

An imaginative adventure filled with humor and heart. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4847-1717-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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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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