From the I Survived series , Vol. 3

Tarshis (I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912, 2010, etc.) again transforms a historical event into a fast-paced adventure story appropriate for lower elementary students. This tale begins on that fateful day, Monday, August 29, 2005. Eleven-year old Barry Tucker is hanging on to an oak tree trying to survive the floodwaters in the Lower Ninth Ward. After the dramatic opening scene, readers are taken back one day in time, to August 28. Life in the Lower Ninth is humming along as usual that day—Barry and his friend Jay excitedly planning to send in an entry to a nationwide Create a Superhero contest—until evacuation orders convince Barry’s family to head of town. Unfortunately, Barry’s little sister gets so ill that the family has to return home and try to ride out the storm. The author’s research and respect for the survivors of Katrina make this a realistic and gripping account that steers clear of sensationalism and sentimentality. Following the main text are “After the Storm: Questions about Katrina” and “Facts about Hurricane Katrina,” both ideal for setting young readers who have been enthralled by Barry’s story on a path to discovering more about the true story of Katrina and its aftermath. (Historical fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-545-20689-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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Dizzyingly silly.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

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 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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


From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

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 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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