Pilkey and Ontiveros team up for another action-packed adventure with Ricky Ricotta and his robot (Ricky Ricotta’s Giant Robot vs. the Voodoo Vultures from Venus, 2001, etc.). In a tale that is part comic book, part early chapter book, tiny mouse Ricky enjoys playing with his gigantic robot until they decide to use the family minivan as a skateboard. It becomes a minivan pancake and Ricky and his Mighty Robot are in trouble. But before they can repair the damage, they are called into duty: saving Mars and Earth from destruction by the Mecha-Monkeys from Mars. Like the comic-book superheroes of decades past, Ricky and his Mighty Robot race from disaster to disaster, narrowly avoiding catastrophe at every turn. There is violence in the battle scenes, but the battles are comical with the trademark Pilkey plays on words. “Ricky’s Robot treated the Mecha-Monkeys to two servings of punch . . . one foot-long . . . and a knuckle sandwich.” Of course, it all works out in the end: Earth and Mars are saved, bad guys are punished, and even the demolished minivan is replaced. All is right with the world. Kid-pleasing diversions such as a flipbook and 11 “how to draw” pages add to the fun. Part shtick, part goofy predictable adventure, the easy-to-read short novel will allow the early reader to turn pages quickly, feel successful, and have fun. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-25295-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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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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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.


From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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