A fast-paced and enjoyable adventure that encourages readers to appreciate the small things in life.


Max, a white boy who is the only deaf student and hearing-aid user in his English boarding school, loves building models, but his world changes when his brilliant mentor, Mr. Darrow, the school janitor, inexplicably disappears.

When Max investigates Darrow’s room, he discovers a minuscule civilization known as the Floor, populated by millions of tiny, sentient people. By using Mr. Darrow’s special goggles, lip-reading, and a special setting on his hearing aids, Max can communicate with the warring populace, who have divided themselves up by hair and eye color (skin color is not mentioned) into separate factions: Blues, Reds, and Greens. With the help of Sasha, Max’s white American roommate; Sasha’s Sparkle Pony–obsessed little sister; Luke, a young Blue prince; and a Red girl named Ivy, Max helps unite the factions, saves the micro world from the evil headmaster, and discovers what happened to Mr. Darrow. Running parallel to Max’s story is one that centers on Luke, in which Max is the Giant. In the author’s note, Montgomery details his research into the experiences of deaf children. Max’s feelings of social isolation due to his deafness are honest, and his growing friendship with Sasha is heartwarming. It is surprising that Max uses no technology beyond hearing aids to navigate the hearing world, but some of this can be understood as more of the headmaster’s incompetence and neglect. While some of the details are inconsistently presented, much of the worldbuilding is deliciously clever.

A fast-paced and enjoyable adventure that encourages readers to appreciate the small things in life. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1884-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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


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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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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