The tongue-in-cheek tale goes on, with enticing hints of adventures and revelations to come.

BEWARE THE CLOPPER!

From the Witches of Benevento series , Vol. 3

In a third episode set in the (supposedly) witch-ridden Italian town, curious Maria Beppina makes a startling discovery when she stops running from the scary “Clopper.”

Interwoven with events from previous tales, Maria Beppina’s act of courage comes after her cousin Primo hands her the gold ring he has found in a fish. What she subsequently turns to face is not a fearsome monster but a friendly if eccentric old lady who wears one wooden clog and lives with a trio of odd companions. Being something of an outsider, as she and her widowed father have moved to the village from Naples, the usually resolutely honest white girl later concocts for the other children a terrifying yarn featuring a cackling witch and a cooking pot. Her guilt is sharp but short-lived, and by the end she’s going back to revisit her new friend(s). Though as usual Marciano appends a “Witchonary” and a history of the real town, he’s been cagey throughout about whether there are actual witches and demons at work—until now, at least (though he could still be having us on). Blackall supplies a map and festoons the compact-format tale with lively scenes of apple-cheeked children in dress that evokes the 1820s small-town setting.

The tongue-in-cheek tale goes on, with enticing hints of adventures and revelations to come. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-451-47182-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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