A thrilling second act filled with faith, determination, and the pursuit of justice.


From the Shard series , Vol. 2

Two months after the defeat of the king in series opener Sisters of Glass (2017), the former princess and now queen Halan Ali and her tawam, or mirror-self, Queen’s Sword Nalah Bardak, struggle with their newfound political and magical powers.

As princess of the Magi Kingdom, Halan lived in ignorance of Tam’s reign of terror—and also the state of the kingdom. Now she faces corrupt Thauma lords and an increasing scarcity of resources. Each day brings new problems, and the pressure to undo all of Tam’s misdeeds weighs heavily. Nalah is similarly eager to help the public, but her powers are far from refined. After Halan discovers a mysterious crystal orb, Nalah and dashing former revolutionary Soren Ferro set out for the mysterious Talon Mountains, where the secrets of her Thauma powers might be unlocked. At home, Halan wrestles the mounting piles of worries. Suddenly, Nalah’s old friend Marcus Cutter bursts through the Transcendent Mirror connecting New Hadar and the Magi Kingdom to ask for Nalah’s help to find his missing brother. Queen Halan volunteers to go instead. This second outing to Cyprus’ Middle Eastern–inflected fantasy world takes readers through new challenges, emotional as well as physical. Emphasizing the power of community and trust, fighting through fear, and believing in oneself, it delivers both adventure and satisfying complexity.

A thrilling second act filled with faith, determination, and the pursuit of justice. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-245850-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

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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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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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