THE FOUNDLING

AND OTHER TALES OF PRYDAIN

Alexander's six short fairy tales, set in Prydain before the time covered in his Newbery-winning quintet, demonstrates both the author's special talent for spinning this kind of story and the extent of his need to borrow plots and motifs on which to build. The foundling of the title story is the enchanter Dalben as a child, adopted by three hags who send him off with his chosen gift of wisdom after he (recalling Taliesin) acquires knowledge by licking the fingers he has burned while stirring their magic potion. The other five stories are more generally familiar and their connection with Prydain more gratuitous: there is the firmer whose wish (here, never to grow older — and it happens to have been granted by Doli of the Fair Folk) turns out to be a curse when nothing grows on his land and his teething baby's dental development is similarly arrested; there is the princess (incidentally, Eilonwy's mother) who chooses — unsurprisingly — not the arrogant enchanters who make darkness and demons to impress her but a third, poor suitor who "enchants" the court with his poetic words; there is "The Rascal Crow" who is saved from a hunter by smaller animals he had previously scorned; the harper who, true to his calling, defies the Death-Lord, and "The Sword" (this must be the entry that the author claims "bears on our own time and concerns") whose growing stain reflects the evil deeds of a King who becomes more and more suspicious and reclusive, and his deeds more monstrous, as he attempts to cover up what started as a callous oversight and led next to a rash murder. All worth another hearing as Alexander tells them, but hardly an important contribution to a mythological landscape.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 1973

ISBN: 0805080538

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Holt Rinehart & Winston

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1973

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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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A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star.

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DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP

A teenager faces seemingly insurmountable challenges in this riveting modern-day spinoff of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

For Ana Dakkar and her fellow ninth graders at Harding-Pencroft Academy, there is nothing more momentous than the weekend trials each student must ace at the end of freshman year. Students who fail to showcase their survival skills are asked to leave the academy, a heavily guarded place Ana has thought of as home since the mysterious deaths of her parents. Though Ana’s brother, Dev, is a senior, what happens at trials is such a closely guarded secret that no one in her year knows what to expect. While her group is out on the water for their trials, Harding-Pencroft is demolished in an attack orchestrated by a rival school. As Ana and her classmates discover that the events depicted in Jules Verne’s classic novels were real, Riordan’s lifelong love of the source material is clear—especially when Ana learns information that will help her find a way to protect the group. A foreword by Roshani Chokshi introduces this adventure that is both great entertainment and centers a well-developed protagonist who is thoughtfully shown dealing with loss. Ana is of Bundeli Indian descent, and her group of peers, who are diverse in various ways, experience losses and struggles of their own. (Final illustrations not seen.)

A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star. (Harding-Pencroft Academy guide, cast list) (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-07792-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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