Big heart and enduring life lessons make this a cherished addition to a viral character’s legacy.

MILES MORALES

SHOCK WAVES

From the Spider-Man Graphic Novel series

Rising star Reynolds draws on devastating real-life experiences to relate how the teenage Afro-Latinx superhero must discover a renewed balance of self even as he negotiates his immense responsibilities.

Puerto Rico, where Miles’ mother grew up, has experienced a very intense earthquake. Just as the family launches a community fundraiser to help, Spider-Man must attend to a mischievous new superpowered duo who elude his capture. Simultaneously, Miles and his best friend, Ganke, who’s Korean American, welcome a new friend when new female classmate and techie Kyle, who’s Black, joins the scene at Brooklyn Visions Academy, as her father has come to town to work for the mega-rich, ultrapowerful Harrison Snow. Yet just a few days later, Kyle’s father seems to have gone missing. Might there be a connection among it all: the mysterious disappearance of Kyle’s father, the new superpowered duo shaking things up, and the earthquakes threatening his mother’s beloved island? And will Miles ever be able to get a good night’s sleep? The graphic novel sensitively grants agency to those who can’t shoot webs from their wrists, as Miles’ friends’ skills, wisdom, and cunning all contribute to finding a solution. Leon’s panels equally deftly juggle humor, action, and emotional truth. At its heart, the story lifts up the real-world consequences of a series of natural disasters to the proud people of Puerto Rico, challenging us all to recognize our shared responsibility.

Big heart and enduring life lessons make this a cherished addition to a viral character’s legacy. (Graphic adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-64804-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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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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