Mind-, if not tooth-, rotting…but the premise is already turning a little flat.



From the Fizzopolis series , Vol. 2

Following the events of The Trouble with Fuzzwonker Fizz (2016), gassy antics ensue in subterranean Fizzopolis after a batch of salubrious Fuzzwonker Fizz is contaminated by a sample of a rival junk-food manufacturer’s disgusting goop.

Logic plays at best a minor role in this return to the secret factory and research lab where the world’s burpiest and most popular soft drink is produced. The principle of “garbage in, garbage out” definitely comes into play when a disgruntled Fizzy (think Oompa Loompa) chucks a glob of Snood’s Flooze into Fizzopolis’ Fizzomatic machine. Out oozes a squad of outsized Floozombies, who escape into unsuspecting Pflugerville—leaving behind a trail of green goo that looks just like “fart putty,” which young Harold, son of Fizzopolis’ owner/inventor Dr. Fuzzwonker, of course follows. Fortunately, the white lad discovers that massive quantities of pure Fuzzwonker Fizz will dissolve the Floozombies. Unfortunately, that means finding a way to deliver 1,400 gallons of Fizz to the Snood Candy Factory, where the monsters are engaged in a world class sugar rush, without revealing Fizzopolis’ location. This is all accomplished to the accompaniment of thunderous belches in the narrative and lots of frenetic cartoons by Sheesley featuring popeyed characters, human and decidedly otherwise, with wide-open mouths.

Mind-, if not tooth-, rotting…but the premise is already turning a little flat. (Adventure. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-239392-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.


After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Another epic outing in a graphic hybrid series that continues not just to push the envelope, but tear it to shreds.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 12

Pranksters George and Harold face the deadliest challenge of their checkered careers: a supersmart, superstrong gym teacher.

With the avowed aim of enticing an audience of “grouchy old people” to the Waistband Warrior’s latest exploit, Pilkey promises “references to health care, gardening, Bob Evans restaurants, hard candies, FOX News, and gentle-yet-effective laxatives.” He delivers, too. But lest fans of the Hanes-clad hero fret, he also stirs in plenty of fart jokes, brain-melting puns, and Flip-O-Rama throwdowns. After a meteorite transforms Mr. Meaner into a mad genius (evil, of course, because “as everyone knows, most gym teachers are inherently evil”) and he concocts a brown gas that turns children into blindly obedient homework machines, George and Harold travel into the future to enlist aid from their presumably immune adult selves. Temporarily leaving mates and children (of diverse sexes, both) behind, Old George and Old Harold come to the rescue. But Meaner has a robot suit (of course he has a robot suit), and he not only beats down the oldsters, but is only fazed for a moment when Capt. Underpants himself comes to deliver a kick to the crotch. Fortunately, gym teachers, “like toddlers,” will put anything in their mouths—so an ingestion of soda pop and Mentos at last spells doom, or more accurately: “CHeffGoal-D’BLOOOM!”

Another epic outing in a graphic hybrid series that continues not just to push the envelope, but tear it to shreds. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-50492-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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