Most grown-ups will hate this, butt that’s half the fun.

First contact is exciting…but what if the ETs are real buttheads?

Lloyd and Josh start a blog, The Peaceful Extraterrestrial’s Guide to Earth, to invite aliens to Earth, explaining such topics of Earth culture as games, being sick, holidays, old ladies, and bathrooms. When two actual aliens with butts where their heads should be and faces on their rears answer the call, life gets complicated. IAmAWeenieBurger speaks English, but Doodoofartmama communicates only by farting; the species has 142 excretory functions. They claim that they are on Earth to meet Josh and Lloyd, play video games, and help the boys get the better of Quentin, a big, conceited jerk in their class who excels at everything. Naturally, that’s not all. When threatened with exposure, the smelly aliens (who’ve already gotten the boys in a pile of trouble) send out a fart-call to 70 billion of their butthead buddies to join an invasion. Can Josh and Lloyd save every human on Earth from menial (and repulsive) servitude? Mahoney’s over-the-top romp, with footnoted blog posts that appear at the rear, will cause giggle and snicker overload in its target audience. Josh narrates in a believably snarky 12-year-old voice, and he, Lloyd, and their classmates all come across as real kids with real-kid senses of humor. Race goes unmentioned, but the cover illustration indicates that one boy presents black and the other white.

Most grown-ups will hate this, butt that’s half the fun. (Science fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-3261-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018


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


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