From the Serafina series , Vol. 3

A captivating, edge-of-your-seat, action-packed fantasy.

The third volume of the Serafina series opens in terror.

Serafina awakes in a dark, confined space. She has nowhere to move, and the air smells of earth. Suddenly she realizes she has been buried alive. Through sheer determination and by keeping her feline wits about her, Serafina breaks free of her coffin. Millions of questions flood her mind. Why was she buried? Who buried her? What happened to her body? Serafina glides through the forest in her not-quite-dead spirit form searching for answers. Much has changed while she was underground. Heavy rains have rearranged the landscape, her friend Braeden sports a leg brace, and a scaly, clawed figure roams the mountainside. A great evil has descended on Biltmore, but how will Serafina stop it if she cannot touch, feel, or talk to the living? Beatty’s latest shows no signs of collapsing into formula, instead presenting new, exciting, and sometimes-frustrating challenges for the beloved heroine and her crew. From the first gripping page, the book pulses with action and intrigue. The magic and the mystery of the mountains weave from one chapter to the next. Beatty decidedly keeps readers on the edge of discovery as the plot unfurls. Each character continues to surprise both one another and readers with their emotional complexity.

A captivating, edge-of-your-seat, action-packed fantasy. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-7504-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2017


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

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

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 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

Dizzyingly silly.

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 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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