The jokes, however, have improved since the first volume, and kids with a taste for weirdness will be eager to start again...

PATRICK GRIFFIN'S FIRST BIRTHDAY ON ITH

From the Patrick Griffin and the Three Worlds series , Vol. 2

Patrick Griffin’s second adventure seems to start over with every chapter.

Almost every chapter features a different character or a different location. Often, the character is a jackalope or a griffin or a numbat, which is a type of marsupial that sometimes enjoys Twinkies. Once in a while, Rust throws in a musical number or a pointed speech about politics. After Patrick disappears mysteriously from their home, his sister trenchantly points out that “most of the kids who go permanently missing that we don’t hear about aren’t from Westchester….And probably aren’t white.” (Although the races of human characters are almost never mentioned in the text, Patrick is explicitly described as a “rich, white, suburban kid.”) Every new chapter provides a clear introduction to the myriad characters, which may make the story a bit more accessible to people who haven’t read the first book in the trilogy. They’ll still be lost, though: the plot involves three parallel worlds, Earth, Ith, and Mindth (named after ears, eyes, and minds), and a cunning villain who’s put them all in danger. Parker’s precise, technical drawings of the various creatures help to clarify things, but only a little. The multiple plotlines keep the book unpredictable, but it also feels fragmented.

The jokes, however, have improved since the first volume, and kids with a taste for weirdness will be eager to start again with Book 3. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-344-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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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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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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