A fun and funny blend of Spy Kids and Mary Poppins.

NANNY X

Lots of nannies are special; this one is a special agent.

When Jake and Alison’s mom returns to work as a lawyer, they, their toddler sister, Eliza, and their enthusiastic dog, Yeti, get a new nanny. Nanny X arrives clad in a motorcycle jacket and straw hat; fifth-grader Alison is not impressed, but Jake is intrigued. Both are a bit grossed out by what’s in their lunch sacks: peanut butter–and-anchovy sandwiches. When she takes the kids to attend a rally to save their neighborhood park from becoming a factory, the mayor is beaned by what appears to be a rock. One of Alison’s friends is accused, and Nanny X swings into action, revealing that she’s a member of the Nanny Action Patrol. Alison’s skepticism deepens, but as the gadgets come out of the diaper bag (baby-bib GPS tracker, sippy-cup listening device) and the investigation continues, she’s slowly won over. Can the kids and Yeti help Nanny X halt a major crime? Alison and Jake alternate narration duties in Rosenberg’s tale of neighborhood espionage in suburban Washington, D.C. Buffoonish bad guys with foolish plans for power nicely balance the hints of real danger in this light, fast read. Both narrative voices are distinct, and the action, while not exactly believable, is realistically presented.

A fun and funny blend of Spy Kids and Mary Poppins. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3166-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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