A Star Wars tale that successfully reflects the series’ madcap spirit of adventure.


From the Star Wars: The High Republic series

On the eve of the Republic Fair, an unexpected threat looms over the planet of Valo.

As dignitaries and far-flung guests arrive at Lonisa City, Jedi Padawan Ram Jomaram learns of a potential breach at Crashpoint Tower. Heading over to investigate, Ram fends off an attack from mysterious intruders who have sabotaged the comms tower. The incident seems to promise even more problems, so the young Padawan rushes back to the city to alert the local Jedi. Meanwhile, Padawan Lula Talisola joins revered Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh to search for clues as to the whereabouts of the Nihil, havoc-wrecking marauders who orchestrated a great hyperspace disaster, ending up on a trail that leads them directly to a Nihil base. There Lula and Vernestra witness a Nihil fleet departing to commence an attack on Valo. As Lula and Vernestra head to Valo to halt the oncoming onslaught, Ram must rush to Crashpoint Tower to fix the comms hub and alert the far-off Republic and Jedi. A brisk read, the novel moves at a breakneck pace, presenting a vast and diverse cast of intergalactic characters in broad strokes. Ruminations on the Force and characters’ backstories mostly recede to the background in favor of zippy action sequences and cool foes for the young Padawans to face, and this installment’s all the better for it. Final art not seen.

A Star Wars tale that successfully reflects the series’ madcap spirit of adventure. (timeline) (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-06066-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2021

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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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