Funny, warm, and highly imaginative.

THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM

Sophie, whose overprotective parents run a bookshop but have a risky, secret side business collecting and selling people’s dreams, suddenly faces, on her 12th birthday, all the dangers of the dream trade.

As the cover art suggests, this fantasy tale is cinematic and madcap. Because her parents want to keep their daughter as inconspicuous as possible, Sophie’s only friend has long been Monster—a cuddly animal rescued from a nightmare and possessed of soft fur, tentacles, and a penchant for cupcakes and self-improvement. Monster has to keep an even lower profile than Sophie, but an unexpected visitor exposes both of them to possible harm from an entity called the Night Watchmen. Also, Sophie’s marginal involvement with certain classmates now endangers them as well. Sophie’s parents discuss the situation behind closed doors: “ ‘But what if the Watchmen—’ Mom cut herself off, then said loudly and clearly, ‘Sophie and Monster, if you are up there listening at the door, I will revoke all book privileges so fast, you will have whiplash.’ ” With similar humor throughout, the book lets readers know that, however dire the situation, Sophie will be all right—but will Monster? Readers will not want to stop reading this quirky, fast-paced adventure until reaching its satisfactory, heartwarming conclusion. The text happily borrows familiar genre elements but wraps them in an entirely fresh package.

Funny, warm, and highly imaginative. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-46497-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

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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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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