A well-wrought debut with enough of a start on both the plot and worldbuilding to leave readers impatient for the follow-up.

JED AND THE JUNKYARD WAR

From the Jed and the Junkyard War series , Vol. 1

Searching for his missing parents, a lad finds himself in a world where sky ships sail over oceans not of water, but of heaped-up appliances and other junk.

Left with an odd key and a set of even odder instructions (“push every red button you find”), 12-year-old Jed crawls through a tunnel behind the dishwasher from this world to the “junkyard”—a vast rubbish heap in which human scavengers battle swarms of quasi-mechanical “dread” assembled from random bric-a-brac for cans of food and other useful treasures. Armed only with a can opener and cooking skills, both of which are revelations to the junkyard’s residents, Jed leverages a berth aboard the flying tugboat Bessie. With his newfound allies, he sets out on a search that takes him through devastating junkstorms and other life-threatening adventures into the clutches of Lyle, the wily, golden, “meat sack”–hating dread king. As it turns out, Jed is not at all the ordinary white boy he had supposed himself but had been spirited from the junkyard as a baby and has a central role to play in Lyle’s schemes of conquest. And, in the course of a dramatic escape, Jed (literally) unlocks hidden potential of his own—the exact nature of which Bohls leaves to future episodes.

A well-wrought debut with enough of a start on both the plot and worldbuilding to leave readers impatient for the follow-up. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2923-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE REVOLTING REVENGE OF THE RADIOACTIVE ROBO-BOXERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative,...

THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER

From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 1

Can this really be the first time readers meet the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County? Cousins and veteran sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston show us that we are the ones who are late to their greatness.

These two black boys are coming to terms with the end of their brave, heroic summer at Grandma’s, with a return to school just right around the corner. They’ve already got two keys to the city, but the rival Epic Ellisons—twin sisters Wiki and Leen—are steadily gaining celebrity across Logan County, Virginia, and have in hand their third key to the city. No way summer can end like this! These young people are powerful, courageous, experienced adventurers molded through their heroic commitment to discipline and deduction. They’ve got their shared, lifesaving maneuvers committed to memory (printed in a helpful appendix) and ready to save any day. Save the day they must, as a mysterious, bendy gentleman and an oversized, clingy platypus have been unleashed on the city of Fry, and all the residents and their belongings seem to be frozen in time and place. Will they be able to solve this one? With total mastery, Giles creates in Logan County an exuberant vortex of weirdness, where the commonplace sits cheek by jowl with the utterly fantastic, and populates it with memorable characters who more than live up to their setting.

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative, thrill-seeking readers, this is a series to look out for. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-46083-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more