From the Jules Verne's Adventure Stories series

Together with its companion, quick voyages down and up, but both grandly visionary.

An abbreviated retelling, translated from Greek, of the Jules Verne classic, illustrated with suitably adventuresome montages.

Papatheodoulou leaves out no significant events from the plot of the original, beginning with the coded message (here in reverse printed English rather than Latin) that sends Axel and his uncle on the titular journey. With a silent local guide, they head down a certain tunnel mouth in Iceland, past encounters with giant mushrooms and battling prehistoric sea monsters, to a dramatic reemergence through an erupting volcano off Sicily. Adding map fragments and clipped photos of spelunking gear to painted views of the white trio feeling their way through dimly lit passages and strange landscapes, Samartzi ably captures the original’s exhilarating sense of wonder. That sense comes through just as strongly in the co-published retelling of From the Earth to the Moon, though this version abruptly cuts off before the proto-astronauts’ return to Earth—and, more significantly, repeatedly works in a concept not found in Verne’s novel, that the whole lunar expedition is founded on the notion of turning a weapon of war to (as the subtitle has it) a “Cannon for Peace.” Journey offers a truer taste of the iconic author’s exhilarating vision than From the Earth, which is in essence a reboot that forcibly transforms the more martial original’s thematic swords into plowshares.

Together with its companion, quick voyages down and up, but both grandly visionary. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9164091-8-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Faros Books/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

Dizzyingly silly.

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 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014


From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

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

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 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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