A silly sugar rush of a story.


From the Awesome Dog 5000 series , Vol. 2

Awesome Dog 5000 and the Zeroes Club return for another wacky adventure.

After an advertisement for the sequel of the kids’ favorite video game—starring Sheriff Turbo-Karate, who attacks with “infinity farts”—the story provides readers an explicit recap of series opener Awesome Dog 5000 (2019), reintroducing new kid Marty Fontana, daredevil Skyler Kwon, and trivia-spouting Ralph Rogers. Soon a threat emerges in the form of Mayor Manny Bossypants, a Napoleonic megalomaniac. When the unveiling of a giant statue of the mayor goes badly and Awesome Dog 5000 saves the day, he declares war on the heroes so that the spotlight will be his alone. Meanwhile, the heroes learn that the new video game’s affordable version, the “meh edition,” isn’t worth buying—but if they win the school science fair, they’ll be able to afford the “gold deluxe” version. When their early science-invention attempts fail, they gamble on concealing Awesome Dog in their machine, which leads to chaos as the mayor’s forces zero in on them. Along the way there’s a quickly resolved friendship plot and a message about responsibility that meshes surprisingly well with the silliness. The ending reveals a secret message hidden in the illustrations, which depict the characters rather as though they were cartoon Legos. Diversity among main characters is primarily conveyed through naming convention; Skyler’s implied Asian while Marty and Ralph present white.

A silly sugar rush of a story. (Science fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-64485-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.


From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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