Evil gets gooey comeuppance, and the forest is safe…for now.

SUPER SLUG OF DOOM

From the Super Happy Magic Forest series

Uh oh—the Super Magic Happy Forest (2016) faces a new, and particularly slimy, threat.

Sliding out from under his rock prison, twirly-mustachioed Zorgoth, self-proclaimed Super Slug of Doom, melodramatically proclaims, well, doom once he quaffs the Potion of Power. Cue the five unlikely heroes who rescued the forest last time: Hoofius the satyr, Herbert the garden gnome, Blossom the unicorn, Twinkle the fairy, and Trevor the ambulatory mushroom! Can they follow the ghastly gastropod’s winding green slime trail past an irate dragon’s molten hot tub, through a village of ogres, and over other obstacles to the mountaintop where a goblet of the puissant potion burbles atop its plinth? Long sends his intrepid questers through a series of full-spread cartoon scenes festooned with magical creatures, mishaps, puckish labels (the Happy Forest has something for everyone, it seems, from “free unicorn rides” to a “stable internet connection”), and side comments in dialogue balloons. In the end the slug is (nonfatally) squashed, his schemes are quashed, and the heroes left awash in admiration as the forest residents do what they do best…PARTY!

Evil gets gooey comeuppance, and the forest is safe…for now. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-05435-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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A decent start to a silly sci-fi series.

ALIEN SUPERSTAR

From the Alien Superstar series , Vol. 1

An extraterrestrial teen refugee becomes a Hollywood star.

Citizen Short Nose, a 13-year-old, blue-skinned, six-eyed, bipedal ET, has left his home world in an effort to escape the authoritarian forces that reign there. The teen runaway lands his spacecraft in the middle of Universal Studios and easily blends in among the tourists and actors in movie costumes. Citizen Short Nose quickly changes his name to Buddy C. Burger and befriends Luis Rivera, an 18-year-old Latinx actor who moonlights as Frankenstein on the Universal lot. Inspired to be an actor by his grandmother Wrinkle’s love of Earth culture, Buddy lands a gig on Oddball Academy, playing (of course) an alien from another world. On set, Buddy befriends Cassidy Cambridge, the brown-skinned teen star of the show. Buddy balances keeping his true identity secret (everyone just assumes he’s wearing an alien costume) with becoming an overnight sensation. The book is efficiently written, moving the story forward so quickly that readers won’t have time to think too hard about the bizarre circumstances necessary for the whole thing to work. This series opener’s big problem is the ending: The story just stops. Characters are established and plot mechanics are put together, but the book basically trusts readers to show up for the next installment. Those enamored with Hollywood gags and sci-fi plot boiling will probably be engaged enough to do so.

A decent start to a silly sci-fi series. (Science fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3369-7

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them.

THE MADRE DE AGUAS OF CUBA

From the Unicorn Rescue Society series , Vol. 5

The Unicorn Rescue Society investigates the disappearance of a Cuban sea serpent.

In the fifth series installment, returning protagonists Uchenna and Elliot are in school, learning about water, when Professor Fauna calls them away. As the kids board the professor’s rickety single-propeller plane, they learn where exactly they are heading: Cuba. The island is in the middle of a massive drought, and Professor Fauna has reason to believe that the Madres de aguas (the Mother of Waters) has gone missing. It’s up to the society to find the sea serpent before any more damage is done to the people and wildlife of Cuba. As they set out on their mission of derring-do, they realize that once again they are up against their nemeses, the Schmoke Brothers. Via Yoenis, their Cuban American society liaison, Uchenna, Elliot, and readers learn about the political and economic hardships experienced by the people of Cuba, the island’s lack of basic goods and necessities, and Cuba’s need for real democracy (although the current role of the military is elided). This is conveyed within a quick, fast-paced read that’s ideal for kids who want a straightforward magical adventure. Uchenna is Nigerian, Elliot is white and Jewish, and Professor Fauna is Peruvian.

Series fans will enjoy revisiting familiar characters and exploring the island of Cuba with them. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3142-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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