Fans of Quinn’s previous work may enjoy the new character set, but there are too many fine furry detectives out there to...

RUFF VS. FLUFF

From the Queenie & Arthur series , Vol. 1

Blackberry Hill Inn is not the restful retreat its human or animal denizens want it to be.

Fraternal human twins Harmony and Bro live with their mother in the Green Mountains in a (usually) peaceful if not terribly financially successful inn. Their pets, Queenie, a cat who knows her own mind and adores herself almost as much as being adored, and Arthur, a mutt who is loyal but not very bright, both love their human family. When Mr. LeMaire comes to stay at the inn and asks about the old Sokoki Trail, the twins take him to the trailhead, cheerfully accompanied by Arthur. Their guest sends them away…and turns up murdered a short time later. The bumbling sheriff immediately focuses his entire attention on Matty, the best guide in the area—and Mom’s cousin. The family is sure he’s innocent, and they set out to prove it with a little help (and some hindrance) from the furred members of the family. Queenie and Arthur share narration duties; like Bowser from Quinn’s earlier Bowser and Birdie series for children and Chet, star of his mysteries for adults, Arthur and Queenie act like real animals. However, it makes for a slow unfolding of the mystery and much obvious authorial manipulation to get the animals where they need to be to overhear vital facts; compounding this problem, although they both speak perfect English to readers, they can’t even communicate with each other. The cast is default white.

Fans of Quinn’s previous work may enjoy the new character set, but there are too many fine furry detectives out there to spend time with these two. (Mystery. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-09139-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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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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If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one.

THE WILD ROBOT ESCAPES

Roz, a robot who learned to adapt to life among wild creatures in her first outing, seeks to return to the island she calls home.

Brown’s sequel to The Wild Robot (2016) continues an intriguing premise: What would happen to a robot after challenges in an unexpected environment cause it to evolve in unusual ways? As this book opens, Roz is delivered to a farm where she helps a widower with two young children run a dairy operation that has been in his family for generations. Roz reveals her backstory to the cows, who are supportive of the robot’s determination to return to the island and to her adopted son, the goose Brightbill. The cows, the children, and finally Brightbill himself come to Roz’s aid. The focus on Roz’s escape from human control results in a somewhat solemn and episodic narrative, with an extended journey and chase after Roz leaves the farm. Dr. Molovo, a literal deus ex machina, appears near the end of the story to provide a means of rescue. She is Roz’s designer/creator, and, intrigued by the robot’s adaptation and evolution but cognizant of the threat that those achievements might represent to humans, she assists Roz and Brightbill in their quest. The satisfactory (if inevitable-feeling) conclusion may prompt discussion about individual agency and determination, whether for robots or people.

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-38204-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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