While critical thinkers may not find this particularly coherent, those willing to go with the flow will enjoy the ride.

READ REVIEW

THE BOY WHO KNEW EVERYTHING

While no one knows everything, this follow-up volume to The Girl Who Could Fly (2008) has the same great premise as the first: that special gifts can be wonderful and also cause a peck of trouble.

Conrad Harrington III is supersmart, but he definitely doesn’t know what the future holds. Piper McCloud, the girl who could fly and the heroine of the first book, is back with her loving parents, who seem to gladly take on the whole crew of exceptional friends who met at evil Dr. Letitia Hellion’s school, where they were being treated to become “more normal.” Conrad’s work on a time-travel machine pays off in a crisis, and the group of gifted kids coalesces around the idea of using their special abilities to prevent disasters and rescue others in need. Unfortunately, this attracts attention, and Conrad’s mother, currently the first lady of the United States, arrives, saying Conrad’s sister is in peril, and only Conrad can save her. Conrad is off to the rescue, taking readers beyond science fiction and into fantasy as events unfold. Classic quest elements are present, as is the unending battle between good and evil. Forester provides plenty of action, engagingly spunky (if fairly two-dimensional) characters, and sufficient length to bring resolution to most elements of the plot, though sometimes at the expense of logic.

While critical thinkers may not find this particularly coherent, those willing to go with the flow will enjoy the ride. (Fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-62600-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

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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Full of puzzles to think about, puns to groan at and references to children’s book titles, this solid, tightly plotted read...

ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY

From the Mr. Lemoncello's Library series , Vol. 1

When a lock-in becomes a reality game, 12-year-old Kyle Keeley and his friends use library resources to find their way out of Alexandriaville’s new public library.

The author of numerous mysteries for children and adults turns his hand to a puzzle adventure with great success. Starting with the premise that billionaire game-maker Luigi Lemoncello has donated a fortune to building a library in a town that went without for 12 years, Grabenstein cleverly uses the tools of board and video games—hints and tricks and escape hatches—to enhance this intricate and suspenseful story. Twelve 12-year-old winners of an essay contest get to be the first to see the new facility and, as a bonus, to play his new escape game. Lemoncello’s gratitude to the library of his childhood extends to providing a helpful holographic image of his 1968 librarian, but his modern version also includes changing video screens, touch-screen computers in the reading desks and an Electronic Learning Center as well as floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stretching up three stories. Although the characters, from gamer Kyle to schemer Charles Chiltington, are lightly developed, the benefits of pooling strengths to work together are clear.

Full of puzzles to think about, puns to groan at and references to children’s book titles, this solid, tightly plotted read is a winner for readers and game-players alike. (Mystery. 9-13)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87089-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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