A wonderfully imaginative adventure involving a missing toy.

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A Whole Nuther Thing

When a boy’s truck vanishes, replaced by a hockey puck, he longs to know why it disappeared and just where the new object came from in this rhyming picture book.

In this tale, a confused boy looks at the hockey puck that appears where his toy truck is supposed to be. “It sure wasn’t mine, and it wasn’t my mother’s; / it wasn’t my granny’s; it wasn’t my brother’s,” he explains. He tries hooking it up to a radio to analyze it (a book open to a page on UFOs and an interstellar poster in the boy’s treehouse give observant readers two clues about what eventually happens). Luckily, a traveler named Follansbee, who dresses like an old snake-oil salesman, stops by with the answer: when something disappears and another thing pops up in its place, it’s because the Hole Nuther, a curious creature who lives underground, has taken it. Nuthers like new things but always replace the objects they’ve taken, just to be fair. The Nuther, vaguely anteaterlike in shape, sports green and white striped fur and an affable disposition. The boy and Follansbee embark on a plan to entice the Nuther to take something else and return the truck. Unfortunately, the Nuther likes the vehicle as much as the boy misses it. After trying an assortment of treasures (and looking awfully brokenhearted), the boy accepts a gift from Follansbee’s elderly mother: a basket of Druthers, which look like jewel-bright paper cranes, sure to please the Nuther. When the boy wakes just before dawn, the Druthers have grown into glowing pinwheels, leaving a trail to not only the boy’s truck, which “looked better than ever,” but also to the Nuther, who has a final encounter with that hinted-at UFO. While at first the UFOs seem a bit tacked on, the inventive story delivers lots of charm as the plot gets even stranger, especially with all the clues in Fang’s (Tibby and Duckie, 2014) brightly colored images. The detailed, whimsical, and endearing illustrations show the boy experiencing a full spectrum of emotions. Definitely for the 4-to-8 crowd, this book can be read aloud at bedtime. Ross’ (Red Boots and Assorted Things, 2016) text scans smoothly, and beginning independent readers should find plenty of words they recognize among the fun, concocted, or uncommon ones like “Dingledong Dell,” “calaboose,” and “wallaby.”

A wonderfully imaginative adventure involving a missing toy.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9903086-1-4

Page Count: 28

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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It’s slanted toward action-oriented readers, who will find that Briticisms meld with all the other wonders of magic school.

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE

From the Harry Potter series , Vol. 1

In a rousing first novel, already an award-winner in England, Harry is just a baby when his magical parents are done in by Voldemort, a wizard so dastardly other wizards are scared to mention his name.

So Harry is brought up by his mean Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia Dursley, and picked on by his horrid cousin Dudley. He knows nothing about his magical birthright until ten years later, when he learns he’s to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hogwarts is a lot like English boarding school, except that instead of classes in math and grammar, the curriculum features courses in Transfiguration, Herbology, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry becomes the star player of Quidditch, a sort of mid-air ball game. With the help of his new friends Ron and Hermione, Harry solves a mystery involving a sorcerer’s stone that ultimately takes him to the evil Voldemort. This hugely enjoyable fantasy is filled with imaginative details, from oddly flavored jelly beans to dragons’ eggs hatched on the hearth.

It’s slanted toward action-oriented readers, who will find that Briticisms meld with all the other wonders of magic school. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-590-35340-3

Page Count: 309

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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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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