Readers are guaranteed very smooth sailing.

THE DOLL PEOPLE SET SAIL

From the Doll People series , Vol. 4

The Doll and Funcraft families are back—and the ocean’s got ’em.

Readers who loved the adventures of the doll “people” brought vividly and charmingly to life in the other books in the series will be delighted by this latest entry. Page-turning exploits await: Packed into a carton for what’s intended to be a temporary removal to their owners’ attic, the dolls find themselves accidentally placed aboard a cargo ship bound for England. Can the dolls escape and return home? Can they avoid human notice? Can they rescue some of their own from frightful danger? You bet—in a gently humorous, engaging and genuinely exciting story that’s strong on plot and, as always, on well-developed personalities. As before, the wonder of the dolls is that they embody admirable, sympathetic human traits, which are beautifully realized: strong family loyalties; unwavering, cooperative friendships; perseverance powered by healthy doses of self-esteem; and impressive problem-solving skills. Readers cheerfully forget these characters aren’t human and root for them all the way. Fans will welcome aboard Helquist, whose artwork is inspired by and takes off from the excellent illustrations established in the earlier books by Brian Selznick; indeed, Annabelle is even more winsome and expressive here. Fans will also appreciate meeting some charming new dolls, fellow boxed-up passengers who aid our heroes and, in turn, are affectingly helped by them.

Readers are guaranteed very smooth sailing. (not all final art seen) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3683-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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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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