Wacky out-of-this-world fun


From the Sci-Fi Junior High series , Vol. 2

Kelvin Klosmo has to learn to dance, get the girl, and make a new name for himself (Larva Boy, Drifting Dufus, and Under-a-Minute Moron have got to go). But he still needs to find time to save the universe (again).

Life on a space station 329 quadrillion miles from Earth sounds exciting, but for Kelvin, it is mostly terrifying, humiliating, and downright irritating. Because even if one of your friends lives in a fishbowl, another has three pairs of eyes, and yet another has a giant brain that shrinks when he is overwhelmed, it turns out junior high school is pretty much the same wherever you go. Shrink rays, giant robots, and disco-dancing parents are just part of a normal day on the space station. But when Kelvin’s father reveals that he is storing a superweapon in his lab, only Kelvin and his friends see the potential for disaster. Corny jokes, wacky high jinks, a supervillain bunny, and engaging illustrations keep the pages turning, while Kelvin’s upbeat attitude in the face of mortification, mayhem, and mystery meat are endearing. Diversity is limited to the extraterrestrial variety. Martin and Seegert’s frequent spot illustrations and comic-strip panels serve up such audience favorites as a farting, tentacled alien, another whose grin is held in place by orthodontic headgear, and a principal who is a giant slug.

Wacky out-of-this-world fun . (Graphic/science fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31521-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 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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Dizzyingly silly.


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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