Readers may not wish to leave this magical world

THE COLLECTORS

Van, who is hard of hearing and uses hearing aids, discovers the true mission of the City Collection Agency: to collect wayward wishes.

One summer in an unnamed North American city, Van spots a girl and a squirrel fishing for a coin that has just been tossed into a fountain by wisher. He soon learns that both girl and squirrel belong to a secret society of people and talking animals who collect and store wishes made as folks toss coins in fountains, extinguish birthday candles, break wishbones, and so forth. Turns out, when uncontained, wishes can come true, and their magic is often chaotic, unpredictable, and dangerous. Van is soon pulled into a power struggle when Mr. Falborg, a fan of Van’s opera-singer mother who is also aware of wishing magic, asks Van to find out just what the City Collection Agency has stored away. West states in her acknowledgements that she consulted with several deaf and hard-of-hearing students, and the descriptions of Van’s use of hearing aids, his struggles with background noise, and his ability to quickly rethink misheard speech based on context clues ring true. Although the plot gets a little bogged down in comings and goings and a few characters seem extraneous, West has constructed a fast-paced and engrossing tale of a boy wrestling with the consequences of power and responsibility. The book assumes a white default.

Readers may not wish to leave this magical world . (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-269169-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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