This series keeps getting wilder and, more importantly, better.

PREDATOR VS. PREY

From the Going Wild series , Vol. 2

Following her father’s abduction by the nefarious Dr. Gray at the end of Going Wild (2016), Charlie Wilde and her friends must hone their animal-inspired powers to rescue him.

Undeterred by the kidnapping, the Wilde family partners up with a scientist who formerly worked alongside Mr. Wilde on a top-secret government project code-named Project Chimera. As she learns about her father’s past, as well as the extent of Dr. Gray’s horrifying plans to further develop his human-animal–hybrid research, the white girl starts to master the animal powers her bracelet grants her. Building on the firm foundation of Book 1, McMann continues to excel at creating likable characters and a surprising amount of emotional heft. Though Charlie’s friends Latina Maria and Mac, who is black, have super bracelets now, new problems arise when Maria’s bracelet turns her part-monkey. Meanwhile, Charlie’s tense relationship with her “sort-of friend” Kelly, a strong-headed white girl with an unpredictable agenda, grows uneasy. Like its predecessor, this sequel features often unengaging action sequences, and the novel’s middle portion (mostly stakeouts involving insect robots and training montages) is weirdly drawn out. As a result, Mr. Wilde’s inevitable rescue and Charlie and Co.’s showdown with Dr. Gray seem abrupt if welcome. Still, fans of Book 1 will enjoy what’s here: a diverse cast of returning and new characters, a group of winsome heroes saving the day, and the promise of even more danger in Book 3.

This series keeps getting wilder and, more importantly, better. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-233717-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

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.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

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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