This long and intricate conclusion should satisfy fans, but it’s not likely to win new ones.


From the Missing series , Vol. 7

This apparently final installment of the Missing series plunges Jonah into a quandary: The villains Gary and Hodge have begun their master plan to steal all the children from history and sell them in the future, with the help of Charles Lindbergh.

The action kicks off when Charles Lindbergh snatches Jonah’s sister, Katherine, from their living room. Time agent JB takes Jonah and family friend Angela to a “time hollow” where they can monitor events, but soon they find themselves clinging to the outside of Lindbergh’s plane as he flies across the Atlantic in 1927. They escape and begin an investigation of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping in 1932, eventually learning how Gary and Hodge have drawn the aviator into their scheme. The safety of time itself depends on Lindbergh’s and Jonah’s choices—and JB, Angela and Jonah’s parents have all been “un-aged” into 13-year-olds. Jonah finds himself dragged to and fro in time, always fearful that he will destroy its flow. Haddix bogs the narrative down with explanations of the workings of time travel, and the story lacks the usual repartee between Jonah and Katherine, un-aged back to infancy. Still, if readers can unravel the mechanisms of time well enough to understand the ins and outs of the story, they finally will learn who Jonah really is.

This long and intricate conclusion should satisfy fans, but it’s not likely to win new ones. (Paranormal suspense. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4169-8986-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Dizzyingly silly.


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


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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