BOOK'S BIG ADVENTURE

Go on an adventure with a book that’s known many readers.

Meet Book: a red, nongendered…well, book readers meet at first as a new release that’s been placed prominently on a shelf in a public library, a spot that affords Book the opportunity to meet lots of young readers and visit lots of places. After some time (and several reads), however, Book’s cover is faded, and it’s relocated to “a lower, less friendly shelf.” Yikes! It’s a rough life. Thankfully, things improve for Book once it’s withdrawn from the library and is donated to a book giveaway. There, Book is discovered by a new reader who loves the little page-turner and takes it on a series of adventures that mirror Book’s early days. This time, though, the journey ends happily, as Book is valued on a personal bookshelf as a favorite story. The story is mildly amusing and enhanced greatly by Bell’s illustrations, which give Book an expressive face and surround it with diverse human readers. But it’s hard to see a child audience for this sentimental tale, though it may make librarians weep tears for favorites that have (sadly) gone out of print. An author’s note extols book-donation projects and lists a few destinations for books that may have fallen out of use in readers’ homes. Still, as a story, it’s more a yawn than an adventure. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Hardly top-of-the-pile. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2183-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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