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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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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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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