A good read for young nature enthusiasts.


From the Wild Survival series , Vol. 1

Twelve-year-old Adrianna has a passion for wildlife, so when she has a chance to be on camera for Wild Survival! her family’s new TV show, she jumps at the chance—never guessing it will lead her into the jaws of a wild crocodile.

After running an animal sanctuary and zoo and its companion YouTube channel, the members of the Villalobos family are ready to expand on their social media success: A TV show will help fund their animal rescue program and conservation efforts. With producer Mr. Savage’s go-big-or-go-home attitude, their first stop is the mangroves of Cuba, in search of an injured “Mega Croc.” Based on a floating boat hotel in the wilderness, they begin their search as Adrianna tries to prove that she is ready to help rescue even the most dangerous of animals. The Villaloboses are a loving family whose interactions are enjoyable to observe. Readers will understand Adrianna’s desire to keep up with her older brother, Feye, and prove her competence to her family. Illustrations of typical Cuban flora and fauna (here’s looking at you, hutia!) and fun facts enhance the book; the author clearly did extensive research on the setting. However, the pace is slow at times, and the storyline about dangerous poachers never comes to a head, ultimately feeling like a letdown. Feye, who is adopted, is described as dark-skinned and not looking like the rest of the family members, who are minimally described.

A good read for young nature enthusiasts. (author’s note, animal facts, Spanish glossary) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-63505-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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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