This high-spirited, pirate-tastic romp is for kids who like their buccaneers a little on the wild side.

THE UNLIKELY ADVENTURES OF MABEL JONES

From the Mabel Jones series , Vol. 1

Bloodthirsty pirates abduct their latest crew member only to find to their horror that it’s…a girl!

Adventure on the high seas comes to a young girl in the dead of night. Kidnapped after performing the “Deed” (picking her nose and eating it) that binds its performer to the nefarious Capt. Idyrss Ebeneezer Split, Mabel Jones is impressed into a crew of animal brigands on a quest for a missing treasure. She has already earned the distrust and hatred of a slow loris by the name of Omynus Hussh (“quiet as a peanut and sneaky as a woodlouse in a jar of raisins”), who may strike adult readers as something rather like a cuddly Gollum. If she is to return home she must aid the quest, befriend the loris, and outsmart a captain who has outrageously evil plans in mind. On display are some true laugh-out-loud moments, as with a piratical love letter calling a sweetheart “the rancid whale fat that fuels the lantern of my heart” and signed by “Brutal Laars the Dolphin Strangler.” Better still, it keeps moving at a hearty clip, keeping readers engaged throughout. A little bit of Monty Python, a touch of Capt. Jack Sparrow, and a whole bucketful of good-natured gross-out humor round out the adventure.

This high-spirited, pirate-tastic romp is for kids who like their buccaneers a little on the wild side. (Adventure. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-4514-7196-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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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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