SHIELD OF STARS

THE SHIELD, SWORD, AND CROWN, BOOK ONE

Bell opens a new series with an enjoyable tale of 14-year-old Weasel, formerly a criminal, trying to save his mentor from hanging. Years ago, Justice Holis caught Weasel picking his pocket but chose not to prosecute. When Holis is arrested for instigating a peaceful revolt of nobles against the country’s corrupt regent, Weasel’s arrested too, but luckily gets imprisoned in an escapable cell rather than the castle dungeon. He and cellmate Arisa, a stranger his own age, break out and leave the city. They seek the Hidden, people who practice an outlawed religion, and the Falcon, a murderous bandit with enough men, Weasel hopes, for a prison breakout. Arisa wants a revolution for justice while amoral Weasel cares only for Holis. Arisa’s tarot cards tell her things; Weasel is skeptical of them and of the supposed “earth magic” that will strengthen any king who can find a lost sword and shield. The closure is chaotic and slightly random, but Bell provides satisfying surprises and suspense along the way. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 27, 2007

ISBN: 1-4169-0594-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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There'll be no silence in the library once readers get hold of this somewhat classier alternative to Barf-o-Rama books and...

THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 1

In the fine old tradition of James Marshall's Cut-Ups, Pilkey (God Bless the Gargoyles, 1996, etc.) introduces George Beard and Harold Hutchins, two usually responsible fourth-graders, as in ``whenever anything bad happened, George and Harold were usually responsible.'' 

Pranksters of the first order, George and Harold are finally nabbed by Mr. Krupp, the principal, whom they then hypnotize into believing he's Captain Underpants, a superhero of their own creation. Before they can stop him, he's out the window in cape and briefs, off to fight crime with Wedgie Power, taking on bank robbers, robot thieves—`` `You know,' said George, `up until now this story was almost believable!' ''—and ultimately the evil Dr. Diaper. Distracting Dr. Diaper with some ``fake doggy doo- doo,'' the boys save the planet, then hustle Krupp back into his clothes, just in time for—their next adventure, The Attack of the Talking Toilets, coming soon. Pilkey's stubby black-and-white cartoon figures appear on every page but can be animated in one chapter, thanks to ``Flip-O-Rama,'' where readers flip pages back and forth for the ``latest in cheesy animation technology.''   There'll be no silence in the library once readers get hold of this somewhat classier alternative to Barf-o-Rama books and their crude ilk. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-84627-2

Page Count: 121

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1997

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This oblique homage to a now-creaky classic is lit by friendships, heroic feats, and exceptional art.

KENNY & THE BOOK OF BEASTS

From the Kenny & the Dragon series

A long-eared young hero takes on a witch bent on trapping rare legendary creatures in a magical book.

Not so much a pastiche of E. Nesbit’s short story “Book of Beasts” as an original novel with cribbed elements, this adventuresome outing regathers and expands the animal cast of DiTerlizzi’s 2008 reworking of The Reluctant Dragon (titled Kenny & the Dragon) for a fresh challenge. As if coping with a dozen baby sisters and tending the bookshop of his questing mentor, Sir George E. Badger, aren’t hard enough, Kenny Rabbit feels abandoned by his best friend, dessert-loving dragon Grahame—who happily recognizes the supposedly mythical manticore that springs from the pages of a grimoire as an acquaintance from olden days. Avid to collect magical creatures of all sorts, the book’s owner, sinister opossum Eldritch Nesbit, tempts Kenny into an ill-considered bargain. But once he sees not only the manticore, but Grahame too snapped up, Kenny joins allies, notably his redoubtable crush Charlotte the squirrel, in a rumbustious rescue that also frees a host of unicorns and other long-vanished marvels. Aside from the odd griffin or al-mi’raj (a horned rabbit from Persian lore and an outlier in an otherwise Eurocentric cast), everyone in the lively, accomplished illustrations, from Kenny’s impossibly adorable sibs on, sports amusingly anthropomorphic dress and body language.

This oblique homage to a now-creaky classic is lit by friendships, heroic feats, and exceptional art. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4169-8316-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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