Another spine-tinglingly satisfying trek into the world of the dead.


From the City of Ghosts series , Vol. 2

The sequel to City of Ghosts (2018) takes Cassidy Blake to Paris.

Cass and her parents travel from Edinburgh, a city of shadows, to the City of Light for the next episode of the paranormal TV show The Inspecters. First stop: Paris’ catacombs, where, five stories underground, the remains of more than 6 million people lie beneath the feet of the city’s 2 million living inhabitants. Here, in this tunnel of bones, the golden, glittering light of the metropolis above yields to an eerie dimness. Both Cass, who is a beacon for the dead, and her spectral best friend, Jacob, who continues acting as the voice of caution, immediately feel its psychic negativity. When Cass mistakenly frees a poltergeist from the catacombs, she and Jacob must race against the clock to stop it before it wreaks irrevocable havoc on all of Paris. From the the Tuileries to the Père Lachaise cemetery to the Paris Opera House, sense of place is tangible. Vivid descriptions of the catacombs highlight the morbidly fascinating nature of one of the world’s creepiest locations. Knowledge of the previous book isn’t strictly necessary, but readers will want to delve into Cass’ first adventure before embarking on this one. The open ending will leave readers wondering where Cassidy’s paranormal adventures will take her next. Assume whiteness except for Cassidy’s Scottish Indian friend, Lara Chowdhury, who offers guidance via text and video.

Another spine-tinglingly satisfying trek into the world of the dead. (Paranormal adventure. 8-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-11104-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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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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Dizzyingly silly.


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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