Passionate, thought-provoking, and riotously funny.

FORCE OF FIRE

From the Kingdom Beyond series , Vol. 2

In a world where serpents have colonized humans and demon rakkhosh alike, fire rakkhoshi Pinki goes on a quest for belonging and freedom.

This follow-up to The Serpent’s Secret (2018) returns readers to the fantastical land of the Kingdom Beyond Seven Oceans and Thirteen Rivers. Despite being the daughter of legendary freedom fighters, Pinki is not sure she can identify with the rakkhosh resistance. She also doesn’t have any friends, something made worse by the fact that she cannot control her powers, sometimes wreaking havoc. When she accidentally sets fire to her school, a humiliated Pinki is persuaded by the evil serpent prince Sesha to steal moonbeams from the Moon Mother that he claims will power a superweapon and defeat the resistance. In exchange for this treachery, Sesha offers Pinki control over her powers. Pinki’s quest to help Sesha and control her own fire leads her to befriend several interesting people, including Moon Maiden Chandni. Ultimately, the reluctant heroine must decide where she belongs in her people’s fight for independence from the snakes. DasGupta’s carefully crafted characters are convincing, and the fast-paced narrative will keep readers thoroughly engaged. The novel draws inspiration from Bengali folktales, Hindu epics, and India’s fight for independence from the British; most importantly, it highlights the innate power of linguistic and cultural diversity and heritage.

Passionate, thought-provoking, and riotously funny. (author's note) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-63664-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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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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