Another whimsical trip down the rabbit hole

ESCAPE FROM THE PALACE

From the Royal Rabbits of London series , Vol. 2

The sequel to The Royal Rabbits of London (2018) picks up six weeks after young Shylo Tawny-Tail left his cozy home in the Warren for bustling London on a quest to foil a plot to harm the queen.

Shylo’s courage has earned him admittance into the legendary secret order of brave bunnies who live under Buckingham Palace in order to protect the royal family from evil-doers. Speaking of evil-doers, those vile, stinky gossipmongers, the Ratzis, are at it again. Their leader, the mysterious Papa Ratzi, has ordered them to find and kidnap Shylo in order to uncover the secrets of the Royal Rabbits. That’s phase one of his nefarious plan. Phase two: embarrass the king and queen and humiliate their ally, the president of the United States of America. You see: The alliance between the United States and England helps keep peace in the world, but peace is a Ratzi’s worst enemy—bad news sells, after all. Can little Shylo prevent catastrophe, or will the Ratzis stop him first? Front- and backmatter include a stylized map of the story’s locales, facts about U.S. presidents and the White House, and a “Which Royal Rabbit Are You?” quiz, all of which complement the book’s tongue-in-cheek fun. Flourishes include the Ratzis’ elaborate tech and Hindley’s amusing illustrations. Readers need not have read the first book, but they’d be doing themselves a disservice by not starting there.

Another whimsical trip down the rabbit hole . (Animal fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9863-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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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