A mixed bag of silliness and magic that will appeal to those who are hooked by the title—and fall short for readers who roll...

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LOOGIE THE BOOGER GENIE

PRINCE OF PRANK

A modern prankster meets his match when a medieval prankster-turned-genie is lodged in his nose in this humor-of-the-gross series starter.

Prince Loogar considers himself the prince of pranks. He’s also the son of the king of Garoth, an invented kingdom in a medieval England where ogres run rampant and wizards can turn enemies into genies. After hoaxing the castle wizard, Loogar is captured in a tiny bead, discovered around 800 years later by Charlie, who collects it for a craft project. Charlie is a good-natured mischief-maker whose father enjoys trading jokes with him—but when one of Charlie’s teachers decides to quit, Charlie and his friends worry their hijinks could have been the cause. After getting Prince Loogar lodged in his nose, Charlie has a malevolent genie complicating his tricks—until Loogar learns that only good deeds will free him from his curse and possibly return him to his own time. The silly conceits of Prince Loogar’s castle leave no doubt that there’s scant resemblance between his England and the historical one, but Charlie feels like an authentic grade schooler. The booger jokes, the silly shenanigans and the sorry state of Loogar living in Charlie’s nose are sure to win over the Captain Underpants crowd. The illustrations by Herholz and Castle are reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s illustrations for Roald Dahl’s classic novels. The plot is slight, and the abrupt ending—in which Loogar learns he must do more than one good deed to be free of his curse—feels like a stopping point rather than a conclusion, even of a first installation. What remains is a lightweight tale of slapstick comedy with slight characters and an obvious lesson about being considerate of other people. With its accessible vocabulary and gross-out humor, the slim volume has the potential to be a hit with reluctant readers, especially boys.

A mixed bag of silliness and magic that will appeal to those who are hooked by the title—and fall short for readers who roll their eyes at booger jokes.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-1479272013

Page Count: 100

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2012

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ZATHURA

A trite, knock-off sequel to Jumanji (1981). The “Jumanji” box distracts Walter Budwing away from beating up on his little brother Danny, but it’s Danny who discovers the Zathura board inside—and in no time, Earth is far behind, a meteor has smashed through the roof, and a reptilian Zyborg pirate is crawling through the hole. Each throw of the dice brings an ominous new development, portrayed in grainy, penciled freeze frames featuring sculptured-looking figures in constricted, almost claustrophobic settings. The angles of view are, as always, wonderfully dramatic, but not only is much of the finer detail that contributed to Jumanji’s astonishing realism missing, the spectacular damage being done to the Budwings’ house as the game progresses is, by and large, only glimpsed around the picture edges. Naturally, having had his bacon repeatedly saved by his younger sibling’s quick thinking, once Walter falls through a black hole to a time preceding the game’s start, his attitude toward Danny undergoes a sudden, radical transformation. Van Allsburg’s imagination usually soars right along with his accomplished art—but here, both are just running in place. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-25396-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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TRISTAN STRONG DESTROYS THE WORLD

From the Tristan Strong series , Vol. 2

Tristan Strong is back in this sequel to Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (2019).

A month’s passed since rising eighth grader Tristan’s first adventure in Alke, the world where African American folktale heroes are gods who live alongside African deities. Tristan’s now an Anansesem, “a carrier and spreader of stories,” and after the Shamble Man, a new foe, kidnaps his grandmother and takes her back to Alke, he follows, determined to rescue her. Tristan heads off on an adventure that will challenge his reluctant hero-ness (realistically, this aspect of his character hasn’t changed) and force him to reckon with the truth: Though he saved Alke, he was also the reason Alke was in danger in the first place. Fans of the first book will cheer the return of old friends, like capable, reliable Ayanna; the ever quippy Gum Baby (who steals the show, as per usual); and cellphone-bound trickster Anansi, and appreciate the new characters. The ending is nothing short of earth-shattering, promising a fascinating next entry. Well-paced—just like the previous installment—this sequel focuses on themes such as the meaning of diaspora and the effects of trauma, making for a more nuanced and stronger story than the first. The human characters are Black with varying shades of brown skin.

Packs a punch. (map) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-04238-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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