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Uncomfortably frenetic for something so devoid of plot.

Jewish summer camp adventures get a little too goofy.

Budding director Noah is certain he’s on his way to film camp—after all, he’s been nagging his parents about it nonstop. But instead, he and his sister are shipped off to Camp Challah, where the socially awkward tween is not confident about making friends. Just before going away, Pops, Noah’s grandfather, tells him he needs Noah’s help saving the world. But the alter kocker is known for his bombastic pronouncements, so not even Noah takes him seriously until a carrier pigeon arrives with a note from Pops. Whatever anyone else expects—or doesn’t expect—of Noah, his real plan is to do what Pops says. Somehow he ends up making friends who go along for the ride, nonsensical and unclear though it is. The first half of the book takes a more realistic tone, with typical camp activities, and it’s not until halfway through that Pops reappears in the flesh to take Noah along. Not only is the pacing off, but it’s odd when the antagonist threatening the world turns out to be an asteroid—not what readers might expect from a grandfather who regularly claims to have been a secret agent during World War II. A supporting character described as part Navajo makes wartime Code Talkers less the undersung heroes they are and more another goofball plot addition.

Uncomfortably frenetic for something so devoid of plot. (Mystery/adventure. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-6036-9

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

Dizzyingly silly.

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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