For fans of the previous book, it’s a lot more of the same. For newbies, consider walking the plank instead.

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RAIDERS OF THE LOST SHARK

From the Ghastly McNastys series , Vol. 2

The baddies are back, and they’re ready to do anything to locate their beloved treasure, even if it means having to fake acting school experience.

When last readers saw the intrepid (and pungent) buccaneer antiheroes, Gruesome and Grisly McNasty were stuck in the belly of a whale. You can’t keep a good pirate down (or digested, anyway), however, so in no time the two are belched out and are hot on the trail of the legendary treasure of Capt. Syd. Fortunately, heroic best friends Tat and Hetty catch wind (no pun intended) of the nefarious plan and rush to foil it. Little Snoring Castle is hosting a pirate-movie production team, and that means more pirates, more misunderstandings, some terrible acting, and serious gross-out humor. A certain level of icky silliness is to be expected in typical piratical fare, but the sheer gobs of snot, slime, muck, and poo on display here effectively bury the characters, plot, and writing in general. The action never lulls for even a second, which could be considered either a good or a bad thing, depending on who’s reading the book. As for the titular “Lost Shark,” that is merely a reference to the name of the film being produced at the castle and has very little to do with the book itself.

For fans of the previous book, it’s a lot more of the same. For newbies, consider walking the plank instead. (Adventure. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77138-129-1

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that...

BEN FRANKLIN'S IN MY BATHROOM!

Antics both instructive and embarrassing ensue after a mysterious package left on their doorstep brings a Founding Father into the lives of two modern children.

Summoned somehow by what looks for all the world like an old-time crystal radio set, Ben Franklin turns out to be an amiable sort. He is immediately taken in hand by 7-year-old Olive for a tour of modern wonders—early versions of which many, from electrical appliances in the kitchen to the Illinois town’s public library and fire department, he justly lays claim to inventing. Meanwhile big brother Nolan, 10, tags along, frantic to return him to his own era before either their divorced mom or snoopy classmate Tommy Tuttle sees him. Fleming, author of Ben Franklin’s Almanac (2003) (and also, not uncoincidentally considering the final scene of this outing, Our Eleanor, 2005), mixes history with humor as the great man dispenses aphorisms and reminiscences through diverse misadventures, all of which end well, before vanishing at last. Following a closing, sequel-cueing kicker (see above) she then separates facts from fancies in closing notes, with print and online leads to more of the former. To go with spot illustrations of the evidently all-white cast throughout the narrative, Fearing incorporates change-of-pace sets of sequential panels for Franklin’s biographical and scientific anecdotes. Final illustrations not seen.

It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that adds flavor without weight. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93406-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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A waggish tale with a serious (and timely) theme.

KATT VS. DOGG

An age-old rivalry is reluctantly put aside when two young vacationers are lost in the wilderness.

Anthropomorphic—in body if definitely not behavior—Dogg Scout Oscar and pampered Molly Hissleton stray from their separate camps, meet by chance in a trackless magic forest, and almost immediately recognize that their only chance of survival, distasteful as the notion may be, lies in calling a truce. Patterson and Grabenstein really work the notion here that cooperation is better than prejudice founded on ignorance and habit, interspersing explicit exchanges on the topic while casting the squabbling pair with complementary abilities that come out as they face challenges ranging from finding food to escaping such predators as a mountain lion and a pack of vicious “weaselboars.” By the time they cross a wide river (on a raft steered by “Old Jim,” an otter whose homespun utterances are generally cribbed from Mark Twain—an uneasy reference) back to civilization, the two are BFFs. But can that friendship survive the return, with all the social and familial pressures to resume the old enmity? A climactic cage-match–style confrontation before a worked-up multispecies audience provides the answer. In the illustrations (not seen in finished form) López plops wide-eyed animal heads atop clothed, more or less human forms and adds dialogue balloons for punchlines.

A waggish tale with a serious (and timely) theme. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-41156-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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