A potent mixture of magic and monsters that never materializes.

THE REVENGE OF MAGIC

From the Revenge of Magic series , Vol. 1

After 12-year-old Fort’s father is abducted during an alien attack on Washington, D.C., he jumps at the chance to attend a school of magic that is preparing to go to war with the invaders.

Fort is anxious to start his new school, but he finds Oppenheimer School to be nothing like Hogwarts. Instead of a castle with turrets and magical creatures roaming the forest, Fort’s new school is on a military base complete with armed soldiers and high-tech security. Although the school teaches both Healing magic and Destruction magic, Fort is determined to master the latter in order to avenge his father. When he arrives, Fort is given an ultimatum: learn three spells in three days or be sent home. While he quickly makes enemies with the aggressive Destruction students, he also makes important friends. Jia Liang is a master of Healing magic. Rachel, a wielder of Destruction magic, helps Fort fight his battles. And Cyrus, newly transferred from London, uses his clairvoyance to keep everyone out of trouble. While this new take on a magical academy is imaginative, the narrative wanders, spending too much time on bickering, dead ends, and flashbacks. Fort’s indecision is his greatest stumbling block, making him a lackluster leader. An open ending suggests more to come. The book adheres to the white default; Jia is a Chinese immigrant, and Rachel is African-American.

A potent mixture of magic and monsters that never materializes. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8577-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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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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