As intended, a great way to prepare for Disney’s new Star Wars film.



From the Star Wars series , Vol. 3

Angleberger, of Origami Yoda fame, follows Alexandra Bracken (The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farmboy, 2015) and Adam Gidwitz (So You Want to Be a Jedi, 2015) to close out the trilogy of novels retelling the three original Star Wars films.

In the longest of this trilogy, Angleberger appears to relish packing in as many details as he possibly can. In fact, in places where the extra information he wants to insert doesn’t fit in the narration, he uses footnotes. The book opens with a classic “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” scroll-style introductory recap before launching readers into the complicated scheme to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. Once all players are safe, they must deal with a bigger problem—the Empire is building “a new and improved” Death Star. If the Rebellion can’t stop Emperor Palpatine now, then future resistance may be impossible. Luke also grapples with the revelation that Darth Vader is his father, and he’s desperate to find goodness buried somewhere in the emperor’s right-hand man. The emperor, for his part, sees Luke’s potential and wants him as a Sith apprentice. The final showdown, both on the ship between Luke and Vader and between everyone else on Endor, is action-packed. Early in the book the footnotes sometimes come too frequently and with content that doesn’t add much, but as the book goes on the notes are better spaced and frequently hilarious. While the novel doesn’t add much to expand on the film, it is far better than the average movie novelization; Angleberger’s intrusive narrator adds pleasant texture to the story proper as well as footnotes.

As intended, a great way to prepare for Disney’s new Star Wars film. (Science fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4847-0913-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2015

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.


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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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun


From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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