What’s next? Probably an equally maladroit series of trips to the Revolutionary War itself.



From the Rush Revere series , Vol. 2

Rush Revere and his horse, Liberty, return to Manchester Middle School for more “rush, rush, rushing to history.”

It hasn’t been long since Rush and Liberty took students Tommy and Freedom to Plymouth Plantation (Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, 2013), but they are stoked for more time travel when the unorthodox substitute teacher returns. This time, he includes new student Cam, an African-American military child, and blonde queen-bee Elizabeth in his hops, taking various configurations of the foursome to a handful of places and times between 1765 and 1774. Oddly, though Rush’s namesake’s famous ride is referenced, they do not travel to witness it. Other missed opportunities include a visit to chat with Patrick Henry, though not to hear his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, and a trip to Philadelphia to stand around outside Carpenters’ Hall while inside, the First Continental Congress debates severing trade ties with Great Britain. As before, blithe disregard for the basic conventions of time-travel fantasy and leaden, amateurish prose characterize the effort. A surfeit of exclamation points (seven in one paragraph at one point) fails to compensate for the text’s inveterate tendency to tell, not show. Characterizations are particularly weak; Elizabeth is an extreme cartoon of a brat, and Cam displays bizarre equanimity at being assumed a slave. Rush himself and Liberty are as affable as ever, though. Readers interested in the received narrative of the lead-up to the American Revolution would do much better to look for the old Landmark books in their local libraries.

What’s next? Probably an equally maladroit series of trips to the Revolutionary War itself. (author's note, quiz) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5588-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2014

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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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Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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