More cotton candy than substance, this book trades plot and character for a tour of an amusing setting and a series of...

CARNIVAL IN A FIX

From the Not-So-Impossible Tales series , Vol. 4

An extraterrestrial girl wants to become a repairwoman at a moon-based amusement park.

Emily, depicted as a light-skinned humanoid with a reptilian tail and pointy ears, has lived at Funfair Moon ever since she hatched. She loves everything about her home and idolizes the maintenance staff who keep things running. But when an inspector makes a surprise visit just as everything seems to be malfunctioning all at once, the future of the park is thrown into jeopardy. The root of the problem is recurring and obvious—few readers will be distracted from it by the endless parade of disasters. While the plot is simplistic, the world it takes place in is good fun; there are charming ghosts in a haunted-house attraction, rides built for giant-sized creatures, villainous space overlords, and all sorts of playful oddities. The artwork does a good job of showing how strange the space creatures are, and it captures the sense of movement as Emily and the repairmen (and they are both male) set off on a whirlwind chase through the park, trying to keep it running. The ending of Emily’s story is as predictable as the culprit, but the latter’s motivation is amusing.

More cotton candy than substance, this book trades plot and character for a tour of an amusing setting and a series of mishaps. (Science fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-38800-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

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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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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