A rousing kickoff for the Captain Underpants crowd.

MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM

BORN TO BE BAD

From the Mischief and Mayhem series , Vol. 1

First exploits of a would-be superhero and her doughty side-cat.

Missy Go’s mother works outside the home and supports the family financially while her father runs the household. Rafi, her little brother who is adopted, is a straight-A student, unlike Missy. Afflicted with a mischievous streak but yearning to be a superhero, young gadgeteer Missy and her orange tabby cat Gizmo hie off to superhero boot camp—where, alas, she falls in with fellow camper Melvira, who uses her superpowers (or does she?) to make Missy think she’s a good friend, gets them both kicked out, and persuades her that it’s more fun to be a villain. The two have very different ideas about what constitutes villainy, though, and when pranks like stealing all the toilet paper in town don’t float her boat, Melvira trots out both a giant robot and a weapon that sucks the powers out of superheroes. At this, Missy, suited up as “Mischief,” with costumed kitty “Mayhem” attending, reluctantly switches sides. Framed mostly as a flashback, the action hurtles along through irregular panels of hyperkinetic cartoon action and snarky banter to a climactic face-off featuring epic robot battles, lots of slime and toilet paper, and, at the end, drawing lessons and space to create your own characters. Missy and her parents appear Asian; Rafi reads as Black, and the supporting cast is broadly diverse.

A rousing kickoff for the Captain Underpants crowd. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297075-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Another epic outing in a graphic hybrid series that continues not just to push the envelope, but tear it to shreds.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE SENSATIONAL SAGA OF SIR STINKS-A-LOT

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 12

Pranksters George and Harold face the deadliest challenge of their checkered careers: a supersmart, superstrong gym teacher.

With the avowed aim of enticing an audience of “grouchy old people” to the Waistband Warrior’s latest exploit, Pilkey promises “references to health care, gardening, Bob Evans restaurants, hard candies, FOX News, and gentle-yet-effective laxatives.” He delivers, too. But lest fans of the Hanes-clad hero fret, he also stirs in plenty of fart jokes, brain-melting puns, and Flip-O-Rama throwdowns. After a meteorite transforms Mr. Meaner into a mad genius (evil, of course, because “as everyone knows, most gym teachers are inherently evil”) and he concocts a brown gas that turns children into blindly obedient homework machines, George and Harold travel into the future to enlist aid from their presumably immune adult selves. Temporarily leaving mates and children (of diverse sexes, both) behind, Old George and Old Harold come to the rescue. But Meaner has a robot suit (of course he has a robot suit), and he not only beats down the oldsters, but is only fazed for a moment when Capt. Underpants himself comes to deliver a kick to the crotch. Fortunately, gym teachers, “like toddlers,” will put anything in their mouths—so an ingestion of soda pop and Mentos at last spells doom, or more accurately: “CHeffGoal-D’BLOOOM!”

Another epic outing in a graphic hybrid series that continues not just to push the envelope, but tear it to shreds. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-50492-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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