A new series for sci-fi enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

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FIRE THE DEPTHS

From the Max Tilt series , Vol. 1

Two young descendants of Jules Verne must stay one step ahead of a villain attempting to steal their ancestor’s treasure.

When his parents must go to the Mayo Clinic for medical tests on his mom, 13-year-old, “on the spectrum” Max Tilt is left in the care of his cousin Alex, who is taking a break from college to write a novel. But Max’s parents leave behind a mountain of unpaid bills, including an eviction notice. The cousins decide to sell off some of the junk in the attic to raise money, but one piece, Verne’s wooden chest, attracts the attention of Fix, a nefarious criminal determined to follow Verne’s clues and secure the prize. And while the cousins look nothing alike (Max’s father is Dominican while his mother is white, and Alex’s mother is African-American while his father is white), they think alike, agreeing to enter into a dangerous partnership with Fix. They may have brains and creativity, but he has gadgets, manpower, and money. Max’s inability to comprehend sarcasm and mild synesthesia (fear makes him smell fish) combine with Alex’s rebelliousness and creativity to make them a unique and compelling duo. The fast-moving plot is filled with puzzles, riddles, and trivia. Max’s tendency to take everything literally creates plenty of humorous misunderstandings; while the tightly focused third-person narration makes Max a three-dimensional character, this quirk may unfortunately have readers laughing at him rather than with him.

A new series for sci-fi enthusiasts and adventure seekers. (Adventure. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-244100-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

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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Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE REVOLTING REVENGE OF THE RADIOACTIVE ROBO-BOXERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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