If this is the future, count child fans in.

MABEL JONES AND THE FORBIDDEN CITY

From the Mabel Jones series , Vol. 2

Crepuscular carnivores! Hypnotized egrets! Amputated bottoms! The pajama-clad child pirate Mabel Jones is back for her latest adventure.

Though just a child, Mabel has dealt with magic before (The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones, 2015). She’s nevertheless surprised when vines make off with her baby sister, Maggie. Following their trail, Mabel plunges through time into a future Earth where humans have disappeared and animals reign supreme. To recover her sister, Mabel must pair once again with fellow “hooman snuglet” Jarvis and veteran goat pirate Pelf. The journey to the titular Forbidden City (read: NYC) where Maggie is held means pairing too with the adventurers Speke, a jolly otter with all the acumen of a Bertie Wooster, and Carruthers, a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps badger. Naturally, the waterways are thick with peril. Naturally, they must face a baddie of towering nastiness. And naturally, it will take a great deal of sacrifice on Mabel’s part to reach a happy ending. As with the first novel, the narrator who haunts this book’s pages isn’t just intrusive. It’s likely to sit on your lap and make snide comments about the nits in your hair. The result is wordplay that dances and teases, making every page an act of high entertainment. With this sequel, the humor is higher and the gross-out jokes less frequent than in the opener, and the adventure is pleasingly heart-pounding.

If this is the future, count child fans in. (Adventure. 8-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-451-47197-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

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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A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders.

TIGER BOY

When a Bengali boy finds and saves a tiger cub from a man who wants to sell her on the black market, he realizes that the schoolwork he resents could lead to a career protecting his beloved Sunderbans island home.

When the not-yet-weaned cub escapes from a nearby reserve, Neel and many of his neighbors join the search. But some are in the pay of greedy Gupta, a shady entrepreneur who’s recently settled in their community. Even Neel’s father is tempted by Gupta’s money, although he knows that Gupta doesn’t plan to take the cub back to the refuge. Neel and his sister use the boy’s extensive knowledge of the island’s swampy interior to find the cub’s hiding place and lure it out so it can be returned to its mother. The Kolkota-born author visited the remote Sunderbans in the course of her research. She lovingly depicts this beautiful tropical forest in the context of Neel’s efforts to find the cub and his reluctance to leave his familiar world. While the conflicts resolve a bit too easily, the sense of place is strong and the tiger cub’s rescue very satisfying. Pastel illustrations will help readers envision the story.

A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders. (author's note, organizations, glossary) (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-660-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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