Plenty to entertain in each storyline; will keep readers absorbed.



From the Super You! series , Vol. 1

This multistranded adventure provides many possible endings to the story.

Readers are put in the role of the protagonist, addressed directly by the omniscient narrator as “you”: At summer camp, you take a trip to the Center for Avian Science, where you are scratched by a large, fierce bird, events depicted in dynamic black-and-white comic panels. Afterward, you discover you can fly, and you are presented with your first choice: Do you tell the camp nurse about your new abilities, or do you mislead her? From there, it’s a mad dash through various scenarios. Many of them involve scenes with the nefarious Dr. Zeus. Will your encounters with him tempt you to behave badly or inspire you to do good? Some choices lead to death, including by goop. Others lead to a mediocre existence after losing your superpower. And then there’s Hector, the big bird who scratched you: Do you free him? Only one path leads to greatness, while another leads to villainy. The number of options is rather dizzying, and readers will spend hours exploring the possibilities, most of which present moral dilemmas. There’s lots of excitement for readers as they race to find the correct page to finish the version they’ve started, wherever that may lead. Black-and-white illustrations depict characters who appear White; names signal some ethnic diversity in the cast.

Plenty to entertain in each storyline; will keep readers absorbed. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-22485-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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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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