This high-spirited, pirate-tastic romp is for kids who like their buccaneers a little on the wild side.

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THE UNLIKELY ADVENTURES OF MABEL JONES

From the Mabel Jones series , Vol. 1

Bloodthirsty pirates abduct their latest crew member only to find to their horror that it’s…a girl!

Adventure on the high seas comes to a young girl in the dead of night. Kidnapped after performing the “Deed” (picking her nose and eating it) that binds its performer to the nefarious Capt. Idyrss Ebeneezer Split, Mabel Jones is impressed into a crew of animal brigands on a quest for a missing treasure. She has already earned the distrust and hatred of a slow loris by the name of Omynus Hussh (“quiet as a peanut and sneaky as a woodlouse in a jar of raisins”), who may strike adult readers as something rather like a cuddly Gollum. If she is to return home she must aid the quest, befriend the loris, and outsmart a captain who has outrageously evil plans in mind. On display are some true laugh-out-loud moments, as with a piratical love letter calling a sweetheart “the rancid whale fat that fuels the lantern of my heart” and signed by “Brutal Laars the Dolphin Strangler.” Better still, it keeps moving at a hearty clip, keeping readers engaged throughout. A little bit of Monty Python, a touch of Capt. Jack Sparrow, and a whole bucketful of good-natured gross-out humor round out the adventure.

This high-spirited, pirate-tastic romp is for kids who like their buccaneers a little on the wild side. (Adventure. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-4514-7196-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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Another epic outing in a graphic hybrid series that continues not just to push the envelope, but tear it to shreds.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE SENSATIONAL SAGA OF SIR STINKS-A-LOT

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 12

Pranksters George and Harold face the deadliest challenge of their checkered careers: a supersmart, superstrong gym teacher.

With the avowed aim of enticing an audience of “grouchy old people” to the Waistband Warrior’s latest exploit, Pilkey promises “references to health care, gardening, Bob Evans restaurants, hard candies, FOX News, and gentle-yet-effective laxatives.” He delivers, too. But lest fans of the Hanes-clad hero fret, he also stirs in plenty of fart jokes, brain-melting puns, and Flip-O-Rama throwdowns. After a meteorite transforms Mr. Meaner into a mad genius (evil, of course, because “as everyone knows, most gym teachers are inherently evil”) and he concocts a brown gas that turns children into blindly obedient homework machines, George and Harold travel into the future to enlist aid from their presumably immune adult selves. Temporarily leaving mates and children (of diverse sexes, both) behind, Old George and Old Harold come to the rescue. But Meaner has a robot suit (of course he has a robot suit), and he not only beats down the oldsters, but is only fazed for a moment when Capt. Underpants himself comes to deliver a kick to the crotch. Fortunately, gym teachers, “like toddlers,” will put anything in their mouths—so an ingestion of soda pop and Mentos at last spells doom, or more accurately: “CHeffGoal-D’BLOOOM!”

Another epic outing in a graphic hybrid series that continues not just to push the envelope, but tear it to shreds. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-50492-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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