Fans will be happy more adventures are in the offing.

MR. PENGUIN AND THE FORTRESS OF SECRETS

From the Mr. Penguin series , Vol. 2

Mr. Penguin and his intrepid band face adventure once more following series opener Mr. Penguin and the Lost Treasure (2019).

Adventurer Mr. Penguin is once again joined by Colin the kung fu spider, the handy Edith Hedge (a human with an elastic definition of borrowing), and silent pigeon Gordon on a mysterious mission. While attempting to recover the Enigma Stone for Professor Stout-Girdle, the group crash-lands their—urm, borrowed plane on a mountaintop near the tiny snowbound town of Schneedorf-on-the-Peak. Siblings Dieter and Lisle Strudel rescue them from a certain snowy demise and then ask their assistance. There are strange goings-on in the village (all the rodents are vanishing), and the abandoned fortress built by Grandfather Grimm has suddenly come back to life. Can the two occurrences be connected? Can the adventurers and their new kid friends find and rescue the rodents of the town in time for the 32nd International Rodent Games? Who is Dr. Mesmero, and what is her diabolical plan? And will Mr. Penguin ever see Cityville again…or get another fish finger sandwich? Mr. Penguin’s second caper is as silly as the first, and as disappointing in its casting of the only apparent human of color—Edith—as a thief. Pages from Dr. Mesmero’s journal, black-and-white illustrations with pops of orange, and occasional orange pages break up the short chapters.

Fans will be happy more adventures are in the offing. (Adventure. 6-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68263-130-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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