Max’s finest adventure thus far.


From the Max's Lucha Libre Adventures series , Vol. 4

The legendary Guardian Angel battles a nefarious new foe in Garza’s solid fourth entry in the Max’s Lucha Libre Adventures saga.

Wedding bells loom when Tio Rodolfo declares that he’s marrying a former flame and fellow luchadora named Maya, aka the Silver Star. His tio’s announcement worries Max. Will the Guardian Angel continue to wrestle? When Max’s fears prove true and Tio Rodolfo reveals that he’s ready to abandon the luchador lifestyle, a new problem arises. Who will be the new Guardian Angel? Barely about to enter high school and still in training, Max knows he’s not quite there yet, but an unexpected challenger to the throne—his little brother, Robertito—startles the budding luchador. As the Guardian Angel prepares for his final match against the Fallen Angel of Catemaco, an up-and-coming lucha libre fiend, Max wrestles with his hero’s legacy as well as his own destiny. Though the format for this tale remains the same as in earlier series outings (English text on the left page, Crosthwaite’s Spanish translation on the right page, with illustrations sprinkled in), Garza shows a new mastery of his characters—all Mexican—and fictional world in this latest installment. Apart from Max’s continued growth, each character shines, no matter how small an appearance they may make. In the end, what readers get is an assured, joyous story full of lucha libre antics and poignant familial bonding.

Max’s finest adventure thus far. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947627-31-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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