A promising start for a new series.


From the Zoone series , Vol. 1

This portal fantasy begins with a door to nowhere.

One uneventful day, a pipe bursts in Apartment 2B, where Oswald “Ozzie” Sparks lives with practical, orderly Aunt Temperance while his high-powered parents travel the world. Imaginative, lonely Ozzie sets off in search of creepy Mr. Crudge, the building’s caretaker, and stumbles upon a mysterious door. This door has “an energy about it,” and for some reason Aunt Temperance seems to have a key to it. A few days later, Ozzie arrives home to find a blue, curly-eared, winged, tigerlike creature called a skyger waiting for him. Telling Ozzie his name is Tug, he invites the boy to Zoone, the heart of the multiverse, where the Convention of Wizardry is about to commence and the secret of this world between worlds awaits. Using Aunt Temperance’s key, Ozzie enters, but the door explodes, leaving Ozzie with no way home. Though he’ll have guidance from Lady Zoone, the steward, Ozzie will need to discover the secret on his own. He’ll also find out he’s much braver than he thinks over the course of this rather contemplative adventure. Like many a magical world before it, Zoone is full of colorful characters. Even Aunt Temperance wasn’t always so “mundane,” as Ozzie learns. She appears to suffer from depression, which Ozzie understands as sickness. Tug has a disability among those of his kind: His wings don’t work. Capt. Cho, head of Zoone security, has brown skin; assume whiteness for other humans.

A promising start for a new series. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-284526-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.


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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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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