SONG OF THE GARGOYLE

In a setting that owes something to feudal Europe but more to pure fantasy, young Tymmon hides, terrified, while his court-jester father, Komus, is brutally kidnapped. Having overheard the mysterious kidnappers' plans to capture him as well, he quickly packs a few necesseities and treasures (his old flute, Komus's jester's cap) and escapes from the castle. Hiding in the dreaded forest nearby, he's adopted by a huge, dog-like creature that he assumes is a gargoyle: though "Troff" doesn't speak, he seems to understand perfectly; in turn, Tymmon easily comprehends Troll's excellent advice. Hungry, they make their way to town, where Tymmon not only learns how the rapacious nobles keep the people in poverty but also discovers the satisfactions of earning his bread with his flute, plus Komus's witty songs and stories. This, plus a chance revelation about his father's tragic past, puts Komus's long-ago renunciation of his nobility (a choice that has lately estranged father and son) in a new light for Tymmon, who—by the time he has rescued his father and straightened out the local political scene—has also come to value his father's art. There are several delights along the way here—especially Tymmon's "conversations" with Troll, who is gradually revealed to be an exceptionally talented dog on whom Tymmon has projected his own ideas. A thoughtful, smoothly written adventure.

Pub Date: April 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-385-30301-7

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1991

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

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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Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror.

THE ICKABOG

Rowling buffs up a tale she told her own children about a small, idyllic kingdom nearly destroyed by corrupt officials.

In the peaceful land of Cornucopia, the Ickabog has always been regarded as a legendary menace until two devious nobles play so successfully on the fears of naïve King Fred the Fearless that the once-prosperous land is devastated by ruinous taxes supposedly spent on defense while protesters are suppressed and the populace is terrorized by nighttime rampages. Pastry chef Bertha Beamish organizes a breakout from the local dungeon just as her son, Bert, and his friend Daisy Dovetail arrive…with the last Ickabog, who turns out to be real after all. Along with full plates of just deserts for both heroes and villains, the story then dishes up a metaphorical lagniappe in which the monster reveals the origins of the human race. The author frames her story as a set of ruminations on how evil can grow and people can come to believe unfounded lies. She embeds these themes in an engrossing, tightly written adventure centered on a stomach-wrenching reign of terror. The story features color illustrations by U.S. and Canadian children selected through an online contest. Most characters are cued as White in the text; a few illustrations include diverse representation.

Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-73287-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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