This romp will definitely find an audience.

THE IMPOSSIBLE CRIME

From the Mac B., Kid Spy series , Vol. 2

This young spy does not suffer from the sophomore slump!

Barnett and Lowery team up again in this second outing of international espionage mystery with royal overtones. In 1989, the queen of England once again calls on young Mac after she receives a letter threatening the theft of the crown jewels. Neatly interwoven with Mac’s caper is the true story of Col. Thomas Blood, a 17th-century thief of the aforementioned jewels. Barnett combines mystery, riddles, a lot of humor, an engaging first-person narration, and nostalgia for all things 1980s into a (mostly) smooth whodunit for young readers. Readers of Chris Barton and Don Tate’s Whoosh! (2016) or kids who’ve written a report on Lonnie Johnson will notice one anachronism: The Super Soaker may have been invented in 1982, but it was only released in 1990 and branded under that name in 1991. Lowery’s believably childlike cartoons, done in black and white with bright yellow and green highlights, are amusing but don't always correspond with the text (partly due to this color choice, explained in a prefatory note young readers might well ignore). Quibbles aside, this is a nifty mystery for young readers and a worthy sequel to the first. Here’s hoping No. 3 will get all the details right and add some characters of color to diversify the white-presenting cast.

This romp will definitely find an audience. (Mystery. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-14368-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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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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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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