As Button puts it: “We may be tiny, but we’re still fearsome.” Aye to that.


From the Pocket Pirates series

Two-inch pirates sally forth to the rescue when their cat is kidnapped by malign mice.

When Pepper Jack and his knavish crew of wall-dwelling rodents spirit off furry Jones, they leave an eloquent if nonverbal ransom note consisting of pictures of a cat and a wedge of cheese. Instantly, intrepid ship’s boy Button, matey Lily, Capt. Crabsticks, and seasoned salt Old Uncle Noggin set out from their junk-store ship in a bottle to raid the chilly realm of Fridge in the owner’s back apartment for the redolent ransom (and to restock their own larder). Neither attacks from voracious woodlice and a gigantic slobbery dog nor the slimy necessity of hiding out in a tub of margarine and a half-used can of dog food sway the expedition from its mission(s). A cutaway view of the shop at the end with labels aplenty allows readers to retrace the outing’s winding course. Festooning his simply told yarn with drawings of diminutive buccaneers (all white) in exaggeratedly swashbuckling costume amid the clutter and outsized provender of a human-sized world, Mould brings his Pocket Pirates series to this side of the briny deep in fine adventuresome style.

As Button puts it: “We may be tiny, but we’re still fearsome.” Aye to that. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9115-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Dizzyingly silly.


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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Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to...


A group of talking farm animals catches wind of the farm owner’s intention to burn the barn (with them in it) for insurance money and hatches a plan to flee.

Bond begins briskly—within the first 10 pages, barn cat Burdock has overheard Dewey Baxter’s nefarious plan, and by Page 17, all of the farm animals have been introduced and Burdock is sharing the terrifying news. Grady, Dewey’s (ever-so-slightly) more principled brother, refuses to go along, but instead of standing his ground, he simply disappears. This leaves the animals to fend for themselves. They do so by relying on their individual strengths and one another. Their talents and personalities match their species, bringing an element of realism to balance the fantasy elements. However, nothing can truly compensate for the bland horror of the premise. Not the growing sense of family among the animals, the serendipitous intervention of an unknown inhabitant of the barn, nor the convenient discovery of an alternate home. Meanwhile, Bond’s black-and-white drawings, justly compared to those of Garth Williams, amplify the sense of dissonance. Charming vignettes and single- and double-page illustrations create a pastoral world into which the threat of large-scale violence comes as a shock.

Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to ponder the awkward coincidences that propel the plot. (Animal fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-33217-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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