A strong addition to this new, emerging series.


From the Survivor Diaries series

Bickering companions Carter and Anna quickly find themselves lost in the Costa Rican rainforest during a birding trip, struggling to make it back to safety in this survival thriller for young readers.

Real-life survival expert Johnson brings her decades of experience in various extreme habitats to bear in this third volume of the Survivor Diaries. Eleven-year-old Carter serves as the whiz, with a deep Rolodex of information on the animal species of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula and a keen sense of survival knowledge. Twelve-year-old Anna considers him a bit of a “nerd alert,” but readers learn that Carter’s commitment to preparedness is a means for him to contend with his anxiety, which has induced panic attacks in the past. Anna is the impulsive trailblazer with equal shares of bravery and naiveté, and she’s enamored with the myth of a monkey statue that imparts protective strength with a lick. Although the storyline is predictable, Johnson accents the tale with a surprising amount of depth as the two adolescents learn to find their strengths in each other. Descriptions of types of snakes, monkeys, birds, and insects give readers an informative understanding of what’s found in the Costa Rican jungle. Orban depicts Carter as black and Anna as white in her occasional black-and-white full-page illustrations.

A strong addition to this new, emerging series. (author’s note, survival tips, further information) (Adventure. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-97118-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Dizzyingly silly.


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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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.


From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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