A story that will appeal to potential paleontologists and other kids who love epic adventures.


In Magliano’s illustrated middle-grade fantasy novel, an orphaned boy discovers a living dinosaur in his backyard.

Twelve-year-old Wenceslao Killean’s parents were paleontologists who died suddenly three years ago in a dig-related accident. Wences, now raised by his grandmother, whom everyone calls Abuela, in Berkeley, California, is also a paleontologist at heart, and after losing his parents, he gives all but one of his toy dinosaurs to his brother, Nico. One day, he finds what appears to be a fossilized dinosaur tooth in his backyard. To his surprise, the tooth quickly starts changing; its color goes from black to white, then some blood and gum tissue appear on it. The following day, the tooth disappears completely—and before long, Wences finds an entire, real dinosaur in his backyard. It’s a Carcharodontosaurus, which lived “during the Cretaceous Period…in North Africa.” It also appears to be a specific dino named Akheilos, which has appeared repeatedly in Wences’ dreams. Later, another prehistoric creature shows up; then, Wences, his friend Matteo, and classmate Jeanine meet an eccentric man named Kessan, who takes them through a portal to another world full of wondrous creatures. Like some of her young readers, Magliano clearly knows her dinosaurs, which she describes throughout this book in accurate detail—and her adept storytelling during the kids’ portal adventure will keep readers engaged, as well. Throughout, the young characters’ conversations feel realistic, as when Jeanine initially expresses skepticism to Wences that the Carcharodontosaurus exists: “Like, how big, exactly?”…“Pretty big. You can’t miss it.” The occasional, full-color illustrations add to the story, and they feature Wences’ comments, as if written on the images by the character himself.

A story that will appeal to potential paleontologists and other kids who love epic adventures.

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2021

ISBN: 979-8782259501

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Independently Published

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 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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