Another technological watershed—crossed first by a mouse.

A note on an old scrap of paper leads two intrepid mice to sunken treasure.

As in Kuhlmann’s Armstrong (2016) and Lindbergh (2014), the journey turns out to be at least as rewarding as the prize. Inspired by a generations-old family story, young Pete enlists the help of a pipe-smoking professor at the University of Mice—first to search old records for the location of a certain ocean liner that had sunk in the mid-Atlantic, and then to invent a submarine that will allow them to explore the wreck. “We need to approach the problem scientifically,” says the professor…and so begins a laborious, sometimes-dangerous process of trial and error, of study and experiment. In the pictures, which are rendered with terrific attention to fine detail in equally arresting monochrome and sepia-toned color, mice scamper through human-sized archival files, design a fishlike submarine that takes shape rivet by rivet, then dive past swirling shoals of fish and an immense whale. The minuscule divers emerge in antique-looking gear to enter a shadowy wreck, examine a spill of outsized coins and other wrack, then carry a small chest back to their craft. That chest contains not gold but a diary with diagrams that connect Pete’s ancestor with one of the greatest human inventors of all. The author closes with nods to both Thomas Edison and to several earlier experimenters with claims to the first light bulb.

Another technological watershed—crossed first by a mouse. (Fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4322-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018


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


A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders.

When a Bengali boy finds and saves a tiger cub from a man who wants to sell her on the black market, he realizes that the schoolwork he resents could lead to a career protecting his beloved Sunderbans island home.

When the not-yet-weaned cub escapes from a nearby reserve, Neel and many of his neighbors join the search. But some are in the pay of greedy Gupta, a shady entrepreneur who’s recently settled in their community. Even Neel’s father is tempted by Gupta’s money, although he knows that Gupta doesn’t plan to take the cub back to the refuge. Neel and his sister use the boy’s extensive knowledge of the island’s swampy interior to find the cub’s hiding place and lure it out so it can be returned to its mother. The Kolkota-born author visited the remote Sunderbans in the course of her research. She lovingly depicts this beautiful tropical forest in the context of Neel’s efforts to find the cub and his reluctance to leave his familiar world. While the conflicts resolve a bit too easily, the sense of place is strong and the tiger cub’s rescue very satisfying. Pastel illustrations will help readers envision the story.

A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders. (author's note, organizations, glossary) (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-660-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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