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THE BIRD MASTER

From the Song of the Eye Stone series , Vol. 2

A sequel marked by escalating stakes and terror.

The scarily unstable possessor of a stone that grants wishes threatens an entire realm in this second volume in the Song of the Eye Stone quartet from Finland, which is translated from Swedish.

In an entry whose events at times feel too convenient, flocks of suddenly savage birds menace former pearl fisher Miranda (who lost an arm to a shark) and her young charge, Syrsa, as well as the inhabitants of the northern coastal town they now call home. The normally timid dagpies turn out to be commanded by Iberis, a cruel foe who’s using the wish-granting eye stone that the girls have sought to direct both the birds and a cohort of brutal minions. Iberis’ forces are terrorizing the inhabitants of the Queendom; the only hope is that the Queen and her army in the capital will continue to hold strong and save the day. Miranda, who now works as a woodcutter, is tough-minded enough to only be delayed in pulling off a rescue after being paralyzed from the neck down in a bird attack. With aid from Syrsa (who also lost an arm to a shark when she was a toddler), Miranda recovers sufficiently to use Iberis’ own power-hungry behavior against her before setting off in pursuit of the eye stone once Iberis retreats. Get set for a race in volume three, The Scaler of the Peaks. The characters are pale-skinned.

A sequel marked by escalating stakes and terror. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781912868742

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Young Dedalus

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

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

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 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE REVOLTING REVENGE OF THE RADIOACTIVE ROBO-BOXERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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