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REBEL UNDERCOVER

From the Forgotten Five series , Vol. 3

Fantastically silly fun!

As the Forgotten Five investigate President Daniel Fuerte’s plans to build an army of supers, the reappearance of their criminal parents continues to complicate matters in this sequel to 2022’s The Invisible Spy.

Reeling from Cabot’s decision to rejoin her parents, who are coerced members of President Fuerte’s supers criminal gang, the rest of the Five—Birdie, Brix, Seven, and Tenner—grapple with their friend’s perceived defection. Is Cabot (whose latent powers have started appearing) now a baddie? But other storms arise. Following the public unmasking of President Fuerte as a super, protesters from around Estero storm the presidential palace. The surprise announcement of a presidential run by Magdalia, Seven’s AWOL mom, also threatens Fuerte’s bid to retain power. As the presidential race gets heated, stalwart ally Lada preps to infiltrate the presidential palace by going undercover as a recruit for Fuerte’s army, a risky move that’s deadlier than the group realizes. Meanwhile, The Librarian’s enigmatic actions begin to raise the Five’s suspicions about their once-reliable spy mentor. Like a well-oiled Saturday-morning cartoon, McCann’s series continues to feature boisterous superpower hijinks and lighthearted espionage with dabs of engrossing familial melodrama. The political shenanigans remain deeply, endearingly silly, and the author does a fine job of maintaining high stakes as the plots get knottier and the twists even dizzier. Another doozy of a cliffhanger swoops in at the end to carry willing readers into the following installment.

Fantastically silly fun! (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9780593615805

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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THE WILD ROBOT PROTECTS

From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

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

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 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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