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From the Float series , Vol. 2

A sequel filled with boys-will-be-boys sensibilities.

A 13-year-old boy with an unpredictable power returns to camp for another summer of misadventures in this follow-up to Float (2018).

“Inconsistently invisible” Hank can’t wait for another summer at pricey Camp Outlier, the one place where he and other RISK kids stigmatized for their uncontrollable abilities, or Recurring Instances of the Strange Kind, can find a sense of belonging. However, his excitement turns to worry when his time-traveling friend appears in the airport bathroom with a tearful warning that Hank is going to die. To make matters worse, a YouTube heartthrob joins their cabin, stealing the center of attention from Hank and making him feel more invisible than ever. On top of that, someone is attempting to sabotage their camp. At this camp of misfits, the cast of characters is predominantly White, with race largely indicated through clumsy, stereotypical descriptors (“gingerbread-colored skin,” “almond-shaped eyes”). Hank flirts constantly with girl campers, referring to them as “ladies” and commenting on their attractiveness regardless of their interest in him, behavior in keeping with the book’s overall presentation of gender relations: “I’d had my sights set on her at the beginning of camp the summer before, but after I’d realized that Emerson did too, I’d done the gentlemanly thing and stepped back. Besides, Kristy was an intriguing challenge, and I liked intriguing challenges.” Not unlike Hank’s flirtation, the story’s lesson about technology addiction lacks subtlety and nuance.

A sequel filled with boys-will-be-boys sensibilities. (author's note) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-313676-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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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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