“Science is no walk in the park,” he rightly proclaims. Also: “Long live geology!” (Graphic fiction/nonfiction hybrid. 7-10)

LEO GEO AND HIS MIRACULOUS JOURNEY THROUGH THE CENTER OF THE EARTH

The top geologist at the Fizzmont Institute of Rad Science takes a solo journey right through the planet. It’s science! With monsters!

This unusually sized book—4 1/2 inches high by 13 inches long—contains appropriately long, skinny black-and-white scenes replete with finely inked detail and is designed to be turned 90 degrees and read vertically. Chad sends his intrepid explorer—depicted as a tiny, round-headed outline figure with rubbery limbs—down (and, for the second half, up, after a 180-degree turn) a continuous winding tunnel defined by masses of individually drawn boulders, bones and embedded artifacts. The text is delivered in comic-book–style dialogue, with balloons of hard science (“There are three common types of lava: basaltic, andesitic, and rhyolitic….”) interspersed with exclamations (“Crawling Curies, look at those bones!”). The nattering narrator not only encounters geological wonders, but complex mining works, teeming cities of sluglike “Subvisors,” all sorts of decidedly weird-looking giant creatures, including a “Quadclops” so huge that the journey necessarily takes an alimentary turn, and a host of toothy subterranean and aquatic attackers. Fellow travelers will understand why Leo breaks into tears when at last he emerges on a hill above Taipei.

“Science is no walk in the park,” he rightly proclaims. Also: “Long live geology!” (Graphic fiction/nonfiction hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59643-661-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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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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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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