Likely to be read once at most; still, a handsomely designed offshoot from the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD

THE ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

From the Fantastic Beasts series , Vol. 2

The ruthless Grindelwald escapes to recruit more followers—one in particular—to his genocidal cause.

More a collectible spinoff than a fleshed-out story, the volume frames 120 quick-cut scenes of sparse dialogue and staging directions within swirling art nouveau–style borders, with plenty of similarly elegant spot art featuring occasional small images of magical creatures but no human figures. There are no stills from the 2018 film either, though director David Yates chimes in with a fluffy foreword, and the backmatter includes a vocabulary of staging abbreviations and partial cast and crew lists. The storyline, sketchy as it is in this form, picks up where the previous episode left off—readers will definitely need to have the established characters and events fresh in their minds to keep pace—and, after various side trips, gathers the ensemble (including token Muggle Jacob Kowalski) in Paris for a climactic dust-up beneath Père Lachaise cemetery. As usual in the Potterverse, agendas nearly always turn on family relations or class, so aside from a glancing reference to Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore’s being “closer than brothers” in their youths, the main developments here center on the star-crossed Muggle/magical romance of Jacob and Queenie and the (supposed) ancestry of powerful but ominously impressionable Credence Barebone. Stay, as the saying goes, tuned.

Likely to be read once at most; still, a handsomely designed offshoot from the Fantastic Beasts franchise. (Fantasy. 10-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-26389-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

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An intense referendum on football’s dangers and glories.

FINAL SEASON

A star 12-year-old quarterback has a championship to win, a developing family tragedy to cope with, and a life-changing decision to make.

Barely disguising the autobiographical elements contained here in the wake of his own diagnosis of ALS, former Atlanta Falcons player Green places his protagonist, Ben Redd, in a football family and on an upstate New York team coached by his dad and two older brothers—all former gridiron stars themselves. Ben’s anticipation as he looks forward to a season that will be capped by a game against archrival Penn Yan battles with his terror as he watches his father’s NFL injuries come home to roost in slurred speech, loss of physical coordination, and, eventually, a frantic trip to the hospital for an emergency tracheotomy. But as Ben’s parents, both iron willed, clash over whether he should be allowed to follow the family career path (and one of his brothers even announces that none of his kids will ever play), the sport’s allure comes through in a series of exciting clashes, with Ben and wonderfully hard-nosed new teammate, Thea Jean, leading the on-field heroics on the way to a last-yard, smash-mouth finale that leaves him dazed and exultant, with a broken finger, a probable concussion…and a choice of futures. Though the cast is mostly male and mostly White, between them, Thea and Ben’s mom add strong female representation.

An intense referendum on football’s dangers and glories. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-248595-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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