LAIR OF THE BAT MONSTER

DRAGONBREATH, BOOK 4

From the Dragonbreath series , Vol. 4

More charged up than daunted by encounters in previous episodes with vampire squid, ninja frogs and a fearsome were-wiener, irrepressible dragonling Danny charges off into the Mexican jungle to visit Cousin Steve, a feathered lizard and bat scientist. Delivering her punch lines as usual in green-tinted cartoons strewn liberally through the narrative, Vernon dials up reader interest with, first, a visit to a bat cave (“The smell was eye-watering and pungent, and it crawled up inside your nose and your mouth and burned your eyes and your tear ducts and the roof of your mouth. It was like old cheese soaked in cat urine wrapped in gym socks dipped in boiled cabbage. ‘You get used to it…’ said Steve unconvincingly”). Then Danny’s suddenly kidnapped by Camazotz, a not–(as it turns out)–so-legendary monster bat with unsatisfied maternal instincts. A night of narrow squeaks ensues, capped by the discovery of a golden treasure guarded by Camazotz’s larger and much more hostile mate. Thanks largely to the efforts of Danny’s nerdy sidekick Wendell, the scaly buddies do get home by morning—but not before readers get plenty of reasons to echo Danny’s trademark: “That. Is. So. Cool!” (Graphic hybrid fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 17, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3525-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

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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