From the Your Pal Fred series , Vol. 2

Floats further inspiration for nonviolent conflict resolution.

Robot Fred continues to wage peace across a devastated dystopia.

Having emerged from the ruins of a toy store in the opener (Your Pal Fred, 2022) into a desolate distant future, Fred has gone on to defuse many a burgeoning conflict among the scattered survivors—but can even his superb peacemongering skills suffice to settle dust-ups between large rival armies of navel innies and outies? Or, trickier still, handle a group of methane-blowing trash monsters and a town under the thumb of mercenary con artist Big Dawg and his masked Mutt-Men? As a further complication, even the most sophisticated solar-powered AI needs to recharge occasionally, but the only way to get above the clouds of pollution that permanently block the sun would be, say, to use a big balloon full of…gas. What to do? Looking mild and inoffensive with his big goggles and stylish blue quiff, pale, moon-faced Fred cuts an odd figure amid the ragged and barbarous-looking lot in Rex’s Mad Max–style settings, but so fearlessly does he mediate between sides while spreading his message about the value of listening and respecting differences, that readers can’t help but come to admire him and maybe even adopt some of his clever strategies.

Floats further inspiration for nonviolent conflict resolution. (Graphic science fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2023

ISBN: 9780593206355

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

Dizzyingly silly.

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 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014


A feel-good tale of a clever and determined stallion set against a well-developed landscape.

In mid-19th-century Nevada, a colt named Sky grows up to lead his band of wild horses.

Parry’s moving story follows the pattern of her recent animal tales, A Wolf Called Wander (2019) and A Whale of the Wild (2020), chronicling a wild animal’s life in the first person, imagining its point of view, and detailing and appreciating the natural world it inhabits. As Sky grows from wobbly newborn to leader of his family, he faces more than the usual challenges for colts who must fight their stallions or leave their herds when they are grown up. Fagan’s appealing black-and-white illustrations help readers envision this survival story. Sky’s adventures include forced service with the Pony Express; being befriended by an enslaved Paiute boy; escaping to find his now-captured band; and helping them escape the silver miners who’d destroyed their world. Animal lovers will applaud his ingenuity and stubbornness. Although Sky’s band has suffered serious injuries (his mother is blind), he and Storm, a mare who was his childhood companion, lead them toward safety in a new wilderness. The writer’s admiration for these wild horses and her concerns about human destruction of their environment come through even more clearly in a series of concluding expository essays discussing the wild horses, the Indigenous Americans, the natural history of the Great Basin, silver mining, and the Pony Express.

A feel-good tale of a clever and determined stallion set against a well-developed landscape. (author’s note, resources) (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2023

ISBN: 9780062995957

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

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