A great read for Star Wars fans young and old.

A TEST OF COURAGE

From the Star Wars: The High Republic series

After rogue bandits catastrophically sabotage a luxury liner on its passage across the stars, a group of young survivors finds refuge on a distant moon far from home.

The hubbub at Port Haileap surrounds the opulent Steady Wing, a vessel with a course set for a commemoration of the launch of Starlight Beacon, the Republic’s latest emissary for hope across the wild of the Outer Rim. Vernestra Rwoh—a green-skinned child prodigy and newly appointed Jedi Knight of 16—must accompany and protect senator’s daughter Avon Starros, a precocious 12-year-old brown-skinned girl with a science-oriented mind. Joining Vern’s mission is J-6, Avon’s sassy bodyguard droid. Shortly after takeoff, explosions rock the Steady Wing, killing almost all the passengers. Vern, Avon, and J-6 manage to escape, joined by Honesty Weft, the distraught son of an ambassador who perishes, and Imri Cantaros, a 14-year-old Padawan who loses his master. With little recourse, the group lands on a far-off moon thick with peculiar jungles and deadly rain, eluding the grasp of dangers that shadow them. This tale ends with a promise of more dangerous times ahead, and Ireland’s attention to conflict building feeds nicely into that guarantee. Rich internal third-person dialogue reveals dollops of inner turmoil for each character (sans droid) at key moments as well as providing some much-needed worldbuilding to make this a winning choice.

A great read for Star Wars fans young and old. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-05730-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

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

Did you like this book?

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

more