Crepuscular carnivores! Hypnotized egrets! Amputated bottoms! The pajama-clad child pirate Mabel Jones is back for her latest adventure.
Though just a child, Mabel has dealt with magic before (The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones, 2015). She’s nevertheless surprised when vines make off with her baby sister, Maggie. Following their trail, Mabel plunges through time into a future Earth where humans have disappeared and animals reign supreme. To recover her sister, Mabel must pair once again with fellow “hooman snuglet” Jarvis and veteran goat pirate Pelf. The journey to the titular Forbidden City (read: NYC) where Maggie is held means pairing too with the adventurers Speke, a jolly otter with all the acumen of a Bertie Wooster, and Carruthers, a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps badger. Naturally, the waterways are thick with peril. Naturally, they must face a baddie of towering nastiness. And naturally, it will take a great deal of sacrifice on Mabel’s part to reach a happy ending. As with the first novel, the narrator who haunts this book’s pages isn’t just intrusive. It’s likely to sit on your lap and make snide comments about the nits in your hair. The result is wordplay that dances and teases, making every page an act of high entertainment. With this sequel, the humor is higher and the gross-out jokes less frequent than in the opener, and the adventure is pleasingly heart-pounding.
If this is the future, count child fans in. (Adventure. 8-11)