Fans of fart jokes and humor may be able to overlook the flaws (such as the paucity of intelligent female characters) in...

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ONCE UPON A PRANK

From the Prince Not-So Charming series , Vol. 1

Prince Carlos Charles Charming dreams of becoming a jester, but his parents want him to do “princely things” like slay dragons.

King Carmine is “a good king” and “a good dad…always loving and patient” with his son. But he hardly ever laughs. When Prince Carlos performs his comedy routine to try to cheer up his father, Carlos doesn’t succeed in eliciting a laugh: Carlos is meant to be a prince, not a jester. After obediently donning his suit of armor, Carlos finds solace in the company of Jack the Jester, who shares Carlos’ affinity for scatological humor. But his consolation is short-lived: His mother, “big woman” Queen Cora (she has “an even bigger personality”), finds and compels him to train with Prince Gilbert the Gallant, who is kind but aggravatingly perfect. Carlos’ torment is cut short but then increased when his father—even though he knows that Carlos is ill-prepared—sends him out to slay a dragon. Carlos comforts himself with a comedy routine as he heads toward his fate, and the noise draws the attention of the dragon, who, unsurprisingly (to readers, anyway), is not what Carlos expected. Spot illustrations portray Jack the Jester and Prince Gilbert as brown-skinned, while Carlos and his father share “the same light tan skin.”

Fans of fart jokes and humor may be able to overlook the flaws (such as the paucity of intelligent female characters) in this quick read. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-14238-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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