Gaea is raising an army of giants to defeat the gods, and Juno has switched heroes Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon) and Jason...

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THE SON OF NEPTUNE

From the Heroes of Olympus series , Vol. 2

After spinning his wheels in series opener The Lost Hero (2010), Riordan regains his traction with book two of The Heroes of Olympus.

Gaea is raising an army of giants to defeat the gods, and Juno has switched heroes Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon) and Jason Grace (son of Jupiter) in order to unite Greek and Roman gods and demigods in battle against her. His memory wiped, Percy knows only that he has another life and a girlfriend, Annabeth; he needs to focus now on winning the trust of the Roman demigods. As per usual, he has two appealing companions with intriguing back stories, Hazel Levesque (daughter of Pluto) and Frank Zhang (son of…?). The three undertake a quest to Alaska to defeat the giant Alcyoneus and free Thanatos, "the border patrol" of the Underworld, assisted and opposed along the way by a pleasing variety of magical beings. Riordan achieves freshness within his formula by giving characters and readers a new environment—Camp Jupiter, similar only in broad concept to Camp Half-Blood—to discover, and his pell-mell pacing has returned. As with all of Riordan's mythological tales, the details that bring the legends into the 21st century delight: The camp's augur reads the entrails of Beanie Babies; tiny, malignant grain spirits dissolve into Chex Mix; the Amazons' headquarters are in Seattle at, well, you guessed it.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4231-4059-7

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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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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Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

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THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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