From the Lucy and Dee series , Vol. 1

An enthralling, fast-paced adventure, hinting of more to come.

Unexpectedly trapped in a fantasy kingdom, best friends Lucy and Dee embark on a quest.

Adventurous Lucy dreams of being a world traveler, while cautious Dee wants to be a scientist. Since the disappearance of his archaeologist parents, Dee conducts alchemical experiments, hoping to produce gold to fund a search. Lured by a flaming red bird into a tunnel with a road of silk, the default White duo encounter a stone man who pronounces them “the children we have been waiting for.” He bargains with them to go on a mission to befriend the kingdom of Sericea’s young emperor, a lonely boy facing danger and in need of companions his age. In return, the stone man promises information that could help Dee locate his parents. Traveling on fantastical horselike creatures to the Celestial City, Lucy and Dee meet 13-year-old Emperor Yidi, a petulant, self-absorbed boy controlled by Xixi, his sorceress stepmother. Blond Xixi is a foreigner in this fantasy land that evokes China, and she is intent on retaining her power by eliminating Yidi. Fearing for their lives, the young people flee with Xixi’s forces in pursuit. The trio, including a reformed Yidi who grows in compassion and understands that he is the one who must save Sericea, emerge as credible young heroes making difficult moral choices as they seek a safe place to hide out and regroup. The story ultimately leaves readers in suspense about what happens next.

An enthralling, fast-paced adventure, hinting of more to come. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-988761-66-4

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Common Deer Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022


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


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