The cliffhanger ending leaves the portal open for a sequel; with luck, readers won’t have to wait long for Book 2.

THE LIGHTHOUSE BETWEEN THE WORLDS

Griffin Fenn and his father, Philip, enjoy a quiet life looking after a lighthouse on the Oregon coast.

Suddenly, their calm, ordered world is shattered by the arrival of the mysterious Society of Lighthouse Keepers. The Keepers need Philip’s help with the light’s lens, which Griffin learns is a portal linking Earth to seven other worlds. After reluctantly agreeing, Philip disappears through the portal, leaving Griffin on his own with the Society and its dubious intentions. Griffin turns to his dad’s journal, his late mother’s bedtime stories about imaginary worlds, and his own knowledge of glass to find his way through the portal. The portal takes Griffin to Somni, an invading world where wicked priests control an entire populace with stolen magic. Then Griffin meets Fi, a member of a covert group of revolutionaries who have evaded the spell and are planning to bring down the priests. If Griffin wants to rescue his dad, he’ll have to join the resistance. The smooth third-person narration moves back and forth between Griffin and Fi. They are both resilient, self-reliant, and determined; readers will cheer them on until the end. Action is well-paced, making for a fast read that ends too soon. The book’s diversity isn’t among the people of Earth, who present white, but among the denizens of the different worlds.

The cliffhanger ending leaves the portal open for a sequel; with luck, readers won’t have to wait long for Book 2. (Fantasy. 8-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0514-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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