Readership may be limited to fans of the earlier Magnus Fin books and those enamored of under-the-sea adventures.

MAGNUS FIN AND THE SELKIE SECRET

From the Magnus Fin series , Vol. 3

Magnus Fin, half-human, half-selkie, is thrilled when a sea storm washes up a box sure to contain riches.

When he tries to open it though, the box releases a burst of red light that leaves his hand throbbing. Worse, it tears a layer of his human skin to reveal seal skin. With this, two chains of events are set in motion: A news reporter gets wind of Fin’s oddities, and Fin is asked to return the box to King Neptune. After healing his hand, Fin’s selkie grandmother explains that the chest contains a wealth of wisdom desperately needed by Neptune to rule prudently. However, the key has been lost. She asks Fin to keep the selkie secret even as he finds the key and delivers both it and the treasure to the king. The story is a continuation of adventures begun in two earlier books, and children who have not read them may feel lost when Magnus, in his quest, must revisit a monster’s castle that he previously destroyed. Some characters and situations are not fully described, and the environmental theme feels tacked-on here. Even some new plot developments feel slight and their resolutions pat, such as the reporter who decides to do good rather than seek sensation.

Readership may be limited to fans of the earlier Magnus Fin books and those enamored of under-the-sea adventures. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-86315-865-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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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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