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TREASURE ISLAND

RUNAWAY GOLD

Daringly honors old heroes, stunningly integrating past and present with pitch-perfect success.

In this modern-day retelling of a classic centering a majority Black cast, a boy’s search for riches leads him to lesser-known parts of American history.

After his father’s untimely death, Zane’s mother takes in boarders to make ends meet. Zane has mixed feelings about one of them, the enigmatic “Captain Maddie of the Turbulent Underground Sea,” and her strange ramblings and warnings. But as her predictions materialize, their bond cements. What about her instructions to “sail on that board of yours. Find the treasure”—is there really treasure waiting to be found? Zane’s friends Kiko (who is Japanese and Black and from a prosperous home) and Jack (whose trucker father is an abusive alcoholic), plus Zane’s feisty pup, Hip-Hop, set off to explore Manhattan, with the kids on their skateboards. Guided by an old, riddle-filled map, they visit several sites of historical events with echoes of the past. But they’re not the only ones interested in treasure, and they don’t know whom they can trust. Whether or not readers are familiar with Robert Louis Stevenson’s original, they’ll be drawn into this accessible, action-packed adventure, full of mysteries, pirates, skateboard drama, and a whole new underground world. The artful, verse-like sentence structures intentionally and effectively evoke the “resonance and rhythm of the African American oral tradition.” Select scenes are represented with appealing full-page illustrations.

Daringly honors old heroes, stunningly integrating past and present with pitch-perfect success. (skateboarding trick glossary, historical note) (Adventure. 9-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2023

ISBN: 9780062998354

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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HOLES

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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