As the stench-loving Rancidians would say: It stinks! (Fantasy. 7-12)

HOBGOBLIN AND THE SEVEN STINKERS OF RANCIDIA

From the Hazy Fables series , Vol. 1

A “Snow White” parody—substituting smelling grossest for fairest—about taking down a tyrant.

The seven districts of Rancidia once existed in harmony, the people enjoying the blend of everyone’s individual odors and governed by democracy. This putrid peace was shattered when ogre Fiddlefart conquered Rancidia and declared himself both king and Grossest Smelling in the Land. When Fiddlefart’s magical Burping Bullfrog sees a new challenger for stinkiest—the humble Hobgoblin, a bean farmer from the neighboring Unincorporated Mucklands—the outraged ogre sends his top scent-assassin, Huntress, to scrub Hobgoblin so clean he’ll never stink again. Instead of de-odorizing Hobgoblin, Huntress whiffs him into hiding with the Seven Stinkers, the ousted elected former government of Rancidia, who invite him into the resistance. Amiable but essentially an isolationist who tries “to stay out of politics,” Hobgoblin initially takes action only for self-preservation (while Huntress warns: “Anytime a creature is treated unjustly—no matter who they are or where they’re from—it’s everyone’s business”), but the fairy-tale plot trajectory pulls him in so he can join the effort to liberate Rancidia. The bodily functions and other stinky-things–based humor amp the kid-friendliness, frequently put the “pun” in pungent, and occasionally dip into parody musical numbers and sly self-awareness. Happy, rounded, nonthreatening cartoon illustrations make Hobgoblin’s delighted tooting downright charming. Some of the Seven Stinkers are female, and one has two mothers.

As the stench-loving Rancidians would say: It stinks! (Fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-948931-04-5

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Hazy Dell Press

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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