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LIA PARK AND THE HEAVENLY HEIRLOOMS

From the Lia Park series , Vol. 2

Meaningful cultural connections provide a solid foundation for this inventive fantasy adventure.

A Korean American tween and her friends team up to recover powerful heirlooms before they’re used to destroy the world.

Fresh off her world-saving heroics in Lia Park and the Missing Jewel (2022), expectations are high for 12-year-old Lia’s first year at the International Magic School. She is anxious to prove her abilities as a powerful spell-caster among her new classmates. Instead, it’s Joon, Lia’s best friend, whose talents impress, stirring jealousy, competition, and insecurity between the two. Complicating matters given their growing distance, Lia and Joon are matched with classmates Eugene and Chloe and sent on a dangerous mission. They must retrieve hidden artifacts before the King of Darkness uses them to unleash imprisoned monsters into the world. Along the way, Lia learns that a traitor has been sabotaging their efforts, and she has reason to suspect each of her teammates. Revelations about the double agent and a mysterious prophecy set up the next volume. As in the first installment, Korean words and phrases appear throughout the text, and Korean landmarks act as locales, adding to the sense of place. Strong worldbuilding continues to provide a captivating magical universe inspired by Korean mythology. Grounding the story is the platonic relationship between Lia and Joon, which realistically portrays the tension between establishing your own identity while preserving a close friendship.

Meaningful cultural connections provide a solid foundation for this inventive fantasy adventure. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 30, 2023

ISBN: 9781534487963

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

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 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE REVOLTING REVENGE OF THE RADIOACTIVE ROBO-BOXERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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