While the friendship conflict and virtual-world-come-to-life are both familiar plot elements, the immersive art and silly...

READ REVIEW

GLITCH

A gamer levels up her space-witch powers to save the world, but along the way she finds the strength to save her friendship too.

As the chosen one, gamer Izzy feels a responsibility to fight alongside her robot friend Rae, who uses the pronouns they and them, to protect the digital world of ”Dungeon City” against the threat of a great evil hidden deep within the code. Before Izzy received her copy of the game in the mail, she promised her friend Eric that she would wait for their video game sleepover so they could start playing together. However, when temptation gets the better of her and she boots it up, the game pulls her inside it. Izzy worries Eric won’t believe her, so she lies and tries to carry the secret of her destiny on her own. The bright, rich color palette matches the upbeat and zany personality of the characters, game world, and conflict. The paneled page layouts are equally animated. Graley plays with tropes to create a comical, over-the-top villain. Izzy’s real growth comes from admitting her wrongs to her friend and learning the power of teamwork rather than from defeating a bad guy. Izzy has pale skin, but that her parents seem to be a mixed-race couple suggests she is biracial; Eric has brown skin and uses the pronouns she and her.

While the friendship conflict and virtual-world-come-to-life are both familiar plot elements, the immersive art and silly humor level up the appeal of this video game adventure. (Graphic novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-17452-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more