Kara and her team may be super, but this adventure is just OK.



From the Supergirl series , Vol. 1

The popular TV series branches out into print.

Kara Danvers, aka Supergirl, protects the citizens of National City from danger with the help of her sister, Alex; the Martian J’onn J’onzz; and the Department of Extranormal Operations. Kara is flying high after a series of victories when ordinary citizens all over the city begin developing superpowers. Some of these new meta-humans try using their powers for good, but of course a few bad apples exploit their gifts for evil. It’s up to Supergirl and her supporting cast to sort everything out and get things back to normal. This middle-grade novel takes place somewhere in the late events of Season 2 of the CW series Supergirl. Mon-El is still on Earth and just getting used to its culture, and James Olsen’s vigilante act as Guardian is fresh to the whole crew. Fans of the show will be able to easily slip into the timeline, and new readers are given enough exposition to catch up. The novel is as light and zippy as an episode of the show, transplanting the beloved characters from screen to the page with relative ease. Less successful is the action, which is clunky and artlessly described. The novel wraps everything up effectively so as to not jostle the series’ continuity, so much so that older readers may feel uninvested by the novel’s end, but young fans will love spending more time with their favorite characters. (Major characters are white with the exception of James Olsen, who is black, and the Martian, who is greenish in his natural guise and black in his human secret identity.)

Kara and her team may be super, but this adventure is just OK. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2814-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

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


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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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun


From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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