A nice treat for all Star Wars fans.

THE LAST JEDI

COBALT SQUADRON

From the Star Wars series

Sisters Rose and Paige Tico lead a run in their starship, Hammer, for the Resistance under the orders of Gen. Leia Organa.

Rumor has it that the First Order may have a presence in the Attera Alpha and Attera Bravo systems, and it is the sisters’ job to do reconnaissance to find out. While out on a mission, they unexpectedly witness a team of TIE fighters in pursuit of a small starfighter in the Attera system. This starfighter docks itself inside Hammer before they can make the jump to hyperspace. Back on the Resistance base of D’Qar, the Hammer crew learns the two fugitives that were aboard the starfighter are leaders of an Atteran resistance movement, Bravo Rising. Organa decides to send Cobalt Squadron, led by Rose and Paige, to deliver supplies—but it does not go well. Wein offers a neat and succinct tale introducing the newest, Asian member of the Star Wars cast, Rose Tico, giving her an origin story that leads right up to the beginning of the opening sequence of The Last Jedi. For fans craving necessary backstory for the film, this may feel like better late than never. Though there are only a few scenes with Gen. Organa, Wein’s obvious love for the Star Wars story shines through when Leia enters a scene, providing spot-on dialogue that nails the character.

A nice treat for all Star Wars fans. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-368-00837-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

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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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If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one.

THE WILD ROBOT ESCAPES

Roz, a robot who learned to adapt to life among wild creatures in her first outing, seeks to return to the island she calls home.

Brown’s sequel to The Wild Robot (2016) continues an intriguing premise: What would happen to a robot after challenges in an unexpected environment cause it to evolve in unusual ways? As this book opens, Roz is delivered to a farm where she helps a widower with two young children run a dairy operation that has been in his family for generations. Roz reveals her backstory to the cows, who are supportive of the robot’s determination to return to the island and to her adopted son, the goose Brightbill. The cows, the children, and finally Brightbill himself come to Roz’s aid. The focus on Roz’s escape from human control results in a somewhat solemn and episodic narrative, with an extended journey and chase after Roz leaves the farm. Dr. Molovo, a literal deus ex machina, appears near the end of the story to provide a means of rescue. She is Roz’s designer/creator, and, intrigued by the robot’s adaptation and evolution but cognizant of the threat that those achievements might represent to humans, she assists Roz and Brightbill in their quest. The satisfactory (if inevitable-feeling) conclusion may prompt discussion about individual agency and determination, whether for robots or people.

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-38204-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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