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

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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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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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