This volume is sure to find an audience.

TALES OF FEARLESS GIRLS

FORGOTTEN STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

This collection of fairy tales from around the world positions girl characters as adventurers.

Nearly every continent is represented here, with stories from Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Nigeria, Lesotho, Iran, Siberia, China, India, Russia, Japan, the Iroquois Nation, and more. Each story is three or four pages long, printed on paper of various attractive colors, with illustrations adorning some text-heavy pages and full-page or double-page–spread illustrations interspersed with others. The main characters are girls who face challenges from natural disasters, from families forcing them into marriages, from supernatural beings that threaten their families, villages, and kingdoms. For various reasons, they go out to save their husbands, to prove their bravery and skill, to escape, or to protect their homes. Like most fairy tales, these stories contain the inexplicable and the limited, such as a young woman who slays a dragon in order to provide her brothers with the fine clothing they demand. Still, compared to the traditional formula of a damsel in distress who is rescued, married, and lives happily ever after, these offer a welcome disruption. The girls and women are clever, courageous, and active, and they shape their own stories, if within the confines of their situations. The pictures add an engaging rest for the eyes, though the illustration of the Chinese characters suffers from racist overtones in the depiction of closed, slanted eyes.

This volume is sure to find an audience. (background, talking points, index) (Fairy tales. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-256-7

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound.

HOW TO CATCH A GINGERBREAD MAN

From the How To Catch… series

The titular cookie runs off the page at a bookstore storytime, pursued by young listeners and literary characters.

Following on 13 previous How To Catch… escapades, Wallace supplies sometimes-tortured doggerel and Elkerton, a set of helter-skelter cartoon scenes. Here the insouciant narrator scampers through aisles, avoiding a series of elaborate snares set by the racially diverse young storytime audience with help from some classic figures: “Alice and her mad-hat friends, / as a gift for my unbirthday, / helped guide me through the walls of shelves— / now I’m bound to find my way.” The literary helpers don’t look like their conventional or Disney counterparts in the illustrations, but all are clearly identified by at least a broad hint or visual cue, like the unnamed “wizard” who swoops in on a broom to knock over a tower labeled “Frogwarts.” Along with playing a bit fast and loose with details (“Perhaps the boy with the magic beans / saved me with his cow…”) the author discards his original’s lip-smacking climax to have the errant snack circling back at last to his book for a comfier sort of happily-ever-after.

A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0935-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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