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From the Imaginary Veterinary series , Vol. 2

Nothing imaginary about the fun (and sneaky learning).

Lake monster lonely? Leprechaun sniffly? Only Dr. Woo, Veterinarian for Imaginary Creatures, can help.

Ten-year-old Pearl Petal, one of the few kids remaining in Buttonville after the button factory’s closure, has a reputation as a troublemaker. She’s just curious, creative...and bored, so she’s glad to have a new friend in Ben Silverstein and an apprenticeship at Dr. Woo’s clinic, which everyone in town thinks is a worm hospital. After successfully ditching nosy Mrs. Mulberry, who wants her awful daughter Victoria to apprentice too (just so they can nose around inside), Pearl and Ben start their first day of apprenticing by clipping the toenails of a Sasquatch. Things get more complicated fast. Pearl’s curiosity gets the better of her, and Ben ends up the prisoner of a gigantic (and thankfully gentle) lake monster. Can Pearl save him without alerting Dr. Woo and her snooty assistant, the odd Mr. Tabby? Selfors’ second is Pearl’s tale (the first was Ben’s), and this adds depth to both the characters and setting of this fun and slightly suspenseful series that has more hijinks than horror. Santat’s occasional black-and-white illustrations are an added bonus, as are the creature info with writing and art prompts, the science lesson on buoyancy and the mirror-making instructions in the backmatter. Readers could start here, but they should start with the first to get the whole story.

Nothing imaginary about the fun (and sneaky learning). (Fantasy. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-22567-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

Dizzyingly silly.

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 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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