Awesome to the max! (Fantasy. 7-14)

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UNICORN POWER!

From the Lumberjanes Novels series

In a winning reversal, a popular graphic-novel series is adapted into a prose novel.

At Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Pinniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, the Lumberjanes spend their days like many other scouts: earning badges, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with friends. While working on their Living the Plant Life badge, friends April, Mal, Molly, Jo, and Ripley discover a field of strange blue flowers being eaten by horribly malodorous—but undeniably adorable—unicorns. There the girls spy a mysterious color-changing mountain marked by an illegible but still ominous sign. The Lumberjanes decide to climb it in hopes of earning their Extraordinary Explorers medal. However, when the sassy scouts find themselves marooned on the mountain, they must use their Lumberjane know-how to save the day. Without missing a beat, this novelization has successfully sustained the fun, feminist feel and lively vernacular of the beloved graphic-novel series, a notable feat. This buoyant adventure will easily draw new readers to the series and should satisfy established followers. With its just-right blend of giggleworthy jokes, LGBTQ–positive characters, and affirmative emphasis on friendship, this middle-grade charmer can make even the coldest, bleakest day feel like a sunny day at summer camp. April and Molly are white; Mal, Jo, and Ripley are girls of color.

Awesome to the max! (Fantasy. 7-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2725-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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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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Thought-provoking and charming.

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THE WILD ROBOT

A sophisticated robot—with the capacity to use senses of sight, hearing, and smell—is washed to shore on an island, the only robot survivor of a cargo of 500.

When otters play with her protective packaging, the robot is accidently activated. Roz, though without emotions, is intelligent and versatile. She can observe and learn in service of both her survival and her principle function: to help. Brown links these basic functions to the kind of evolution Roz undergoes as she figures out how to stay dry and intact in her wild environment—not easy, with pine cones and poop dropping from above, stormy weather, and a family of cranky bears. She learns to understand and eventually speak the language of the wild creatures (each species with its different “accent”). An accident leaves her the sole protector of a baby goose, and Roz must ask other creatures for help to shelter and feed the gosling. Roz’s growing connection with her environment is sweetly funny, reminiscent of Randall Jarrell’s The Animal Family. At every moment Roz’s actions seem plausible and logical yet surprisingly full of something like feeling. Robot hunters with guns figure into the climax of the story as the outside world intrudes. While the end to Roz’s benign and wild life is startling and violent, Brown leaves Roz and her companions—and readers—with hope.

Thought-provoking and charming. (Science fiction/fantasy. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-38199-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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