Great storytelling continues in this latest Longburrow adventure.

THE GIFT OF DARK HOLLOW

From the Longburrow series , Vol. 2

In this sequel to Podkin One-Ear (2017), warrior rabbit Podkin embarks on a dangerous quest: to find and retrieve “the sacred hammer of Applecross.”

After fleeing the Gorm, “hulking, clanking monsters of iron and flesh,” Podkin, his older sister, and their younger brother endure winter with other refugee rabbits in Dark Hollow, an abandoned warren. Haunted by previous encounters with Gorm and “feeling useless and very sorry for himself,” Podkin discovers Moonfyre, Dark Hollow’s missing sacred gift, which enables its bearer to magically jump from shadow to shadow under moonlight. Overhearing visiting Applecross rabbits discussing a hammer capable of producing arrowheads that can kill Gorm, Podkin suppresses his fears and agrees to lead a search for the hammer. At great peril, they uncover the hammer, hidden in ruins on an island in a lake, only to be captured by Gorm, leaving Podkin to rely on his wits and Moonfyre. Once again, Podkin emerges the hero, willing to sacrifice himself, aided by helpers and magical objects. The narrative device of a story within a story perfectly fits this tale, in which storyteller Pook unfolds the saga of his older brother, Podkin, to an eager young apprentice as they journey to a gathering of bards. Inclusion of ancient rabbit lore and action-filled black-and-white illustrations adds depth and drama.

Great storytelling continues in this latest Longburrow adventure. (Animal fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-69601-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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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

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

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

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

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. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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