A humorous, fast-paced adventure with a surprisingly engaging and inspiring hero who discovers “anything in the world is...

THE ROYAL RABBITS OF LONDON

From the Royal Rabbits of London series , Vol. 1

A quiet young bunny longing for adventure becomes involved with a band of elite rabbits dedicated to safeguarding the royal family of England.

With his “narrow shoulders, his scrawny body,” and “red eye patch worn to correct his squint,” Shylo appears weak and feeble but aspires to be “clever and brave.” His secret pal, Horatio, an elderly, battle-scarred rabbit who’s barred from mixing with Shylo’s community, fills Shylo with stories about the Royal Rabbits of London, a secret society beneath Buckingham Palace that protects the royal family. When Shylo overhears three “big, greasy, menacing rats” with cameras discussing a map that reveals a secret tunnel to the queen’s bedroom, where they plan to take a compromising photo of her in her nightie and sell it online for 1 million pounds, Shylo tells Horatio. The old warrior quickly dispatches him, with detailed instructions, to warn the Royal Rabbits. Following a secret tunnel and hiding in vegetable crates, Shylo arrives in London, where he makes contact with the Royal Rabbits and, propelled by his desire to be brave, uses his wits to thwart the ratty scheme. An eccentric cast of secret operative and commando rabbits plus lively black-and-white illustrations add a comic flair.

A humorous, fast-paced adventure with a surprisingly engaging and inspiring hero who discovers “anything in the world is possible.” (Animal fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9860-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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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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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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