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SPACE ROCKS!

From the Space Rocks series , Vol. 1

Clap your thol’graz—the open ending begs for a sequel! (Science fiction. 9-12)

Xotonian Chorkle’s home asteroid Gelo is so boring that of course it’s going to spy on the iridium-stealing, fur-tufted invaders from Eo.

Chorkle’s originator allowed it (there is no gender on Gelo) to check out Jehe Canyon for human incursion as long as it agreed to leave if it saw them…but they’re so interesting, and they have amazingly fun technology. Xotonians are adept at hiding, so the aliens are oblivious to Chorkle’s presence, but it makes off with their hologram device. When the Xotonians decide to unleash the dreaded, destructive Q-sik weapon to chase off the humans, Chorkle wants to warn the humans. It knows the ones it saw in the canyon are young ones. Having learned some human language from the hologram device and human transmissions, Chorkle intends to warn them…but it’s distracted by the sugary pink magic of Feeney’s Original Astronaut Ice Cream, and the young humans end up marooned on Gelo. Now Chorkle must keep them alive until their originators return for them. When the Vorem, the ancient enemy of the Xotonians, reappear, the fate of the solar system might hang in the balance. O’Donnell’s debut is an imaginative, smart and laugh-out-loud adventure. Chorkle is charming, and its alien perspective on the human invaders and the ensuing culture clash never falters.

Clap your thol’graz—the open ending begs for a sequel! (Science fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59514-713-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

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

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 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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FAKER

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences.

A con man’s son yearns for a different way of life.

Having helped his single dad fleece wealthy marks since kindergarten, Trey is adept at spotting their rich offspring in each new school he attends and cultivating them until the time comes for a quick getaway. Now that he’s 12, though, the urge to make real friends and put down some roots has become insistent—particularly since he’s drawn to Kaylee, a new classmate in his latest middle school. How can he convince his dad, who’s in the midst of luring local investors into a fantastically lucrative scheme involving a fictive electric car, that it’s time to bag the family profession and settle down? Korman goes more for ironic humor than the physical or stand-up sort in this book, as shown by Trey’s enrollment in an ethics class that forces him into some decidedly hypocritical stances. Much like Trey himself, instant new bestie Logan and his parents turn out to be not at all who they seem. And though there are no bullies or real baddies in the cast on the way to the story’s rosy but implausible resolution, Trey’s malign, high-strung, and wildly reckless huckster of a little sister from hell definitely adds both conflict and suspense to this provocative outing. Main characters read white.

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338826753

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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