Perhaps there is appeal for dyed-in-the-wool fans, but it’s not likely to make converts

THE FORBIDDEN POWER

From the LEGO Nexo Knights series , Vol. 1

A misfit toy strives to fit in at his new academy.

A spinoff of the animated NEXO KNIGHTS and the eponymous toy line introduces Fletcher, a plucky country orphan off to train at the famous Knights' Academy. Once he arrives at the school, he quickly befriends Izzy, a precocious girl whose brother is a famous alumnus. On an academically mandated scavenger hunt, the pair unearths a strange shield that they believe harbors beneficial powers. Once in possession of the mysterious relic, they learn that the wicked Baron von Bludgeonous is pursuing them, determined to steal the shield and use its power to unleash an unspeakable evil. Will the two yellow underdogs (they are Legos, after all) be able to rise up and save not only their academy, but also the entire kingdom? Superficiality is the order of the day; for example, Fletcher has a mystical, innate force guiding his tough decisions—a gut feeling—that is literally in his gut. Short chapters carry the flimsy and predictable adventure, which seems better suited for its animated counterpart than a prose novel. Littered with name-dropping references to the many facets of the franchise, this feels like a protracted commercial lacking the visual interest of the cartoon or the creativity of the building sets. While certainly current, once the next Lego darling is introduced, this flash in the pan will be relegated to obscurity.

Perhaps there is appeal for dyed-in-the-wool fans, but it’s not likely to make converts . (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-338-04183-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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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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