Fluorescent outer space? The series continues to be a color scheme in search of an appropriate subject.

BLAST OFF!

From the Fluorescent Pop! series

An extraterrestrial travels by rocket ship through a psychedelic universe.

The space creature, who wears a helmet through most of the book, enjoys a snack, marvels at a shooting star, and passes by a colorful array of planets. When this voyager arrives at what looks to be a space station, the text reads: “Where is everyone?” The page turn reveals a wild assortment of space creatures welcoming home the protagonist, who has now removed the helmet to show green skin, an orange nose, and bugle-shaped ears. Minimal text of one or two sentences per page captions each double-page scene. As with other titles in the Fluorescent Pop! series, the art is a dizzying explosion of color with Day-Glo oranges, intense yellows, radioactive greens, and hot pinks. While the planets and the shooting star are invitingly illustrated, the rocket's control room has so much going on with buttons, dials, screens, cords, and even a floating slice of pizza it proves a difficult image to read. A companion book, The Sweetest Treats, features more of the same brightly hued illustration style to catalog a variety of sugar-sweet treats. Those readers not concerned about the calorie count and the use of artificial coloring in these goodies may still find lime-green ice cream and fuchsia cupcakes less than appetizing.

Fluorescent outer space? The series continues to be a color scheme in search of an appropriate subject. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0221-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more