A captivating collection of stories based on world mythologies.

THE CURSED CARNIVAL AND OTHER CALAMITIES

NEW STORIES ABOUT MYTHIC HEROES

In this anthology penned by authors from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint—and Riordan himself—mythological adventures lie in wait.

In the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Gum Baby must save her friends from a ghostie dressed in rags in Kwame Mbalia’s “The Gum Baby Files.” In Carlos Hernandez’ “Calamity Juice,” Cuban American Sal and Gabi must figure out which alternate version of the universe has swallowed up their friend. In “Beware the Grove of True Love” by Roshani Chokshi, Aru Shah and her Pandava sisters enter a Night Bazaar in the Otherworld; they must return gunghroos, or anklet bells, to a magical being they upset. And at the All-Nations Assembly powwow, Diné girl Nizhoni; her best friend, Davery; and other Native youth try—and fail—to take a break from slaying monsters in “The Demon Drum” by Rebecca Roanhorse. The 10 short stories in this anthology pulse with imagination and humor, and each entry is a true page-turner set in a fully realized, satisfyingly complete fantasy world that is accessible even to readers who are not familiar with the authors’ novels. At times, the dialogue can feel forced, as though the writers are trying to shape their styles to match Riordan’s; the strongest stories are the ones that avoid this pitfall and which have the most distinctive voices.

A captivating collection of stories based on world mythologies. (guide to Irish names, contributor bios) (Fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-07083-6

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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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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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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