A rich and resonant tall tale that celebrates imagination even as it underscores enduring truths.

KIMMY & MIKE

A picture-book tall tale of derring-do from Newfoundland and Labrador that continues a centuries-old tradition of recitation.

Brothers Kimmy and Mike are charged by their mother to take their punt to fish for “something for the pot!” But no fish are to be had at their usual spot, and the boys decide to “scull ’er…’cross the pond”—not wishing to face their mother’s admonishment. As the rhyming tall tale continues gleefully, the brothers encounter a merman called Saul who longs for Nepal, tackle pirates off the coast of Somalia (depicted as old-fashioned European ones), and dig their way through the Panama Canal (“We are closed; please come back again”), among many other adventures. The story, which must be read aloud for full effect, continues a tradition that began in the isolated fishing communities of Newfoundland and Labrador, as an afterword notes, when the scant leisure time was often spent making up stories to entertain family and neighbors. While the physical reality of the tale is one of happy exaggeration, the emotional reality—two tough boys abashed by their more-than-capable mother—is an endearing truth. The illustrations have a folk-art look, which both complements and compliments the recitation tradition, and, in the way of outsider art, have the knack of looking simple while actually being visually sophisticated. The merman has brown skin and orange hair while Kimmy, Mike, and their mom present White.

A rich and resonant tall tale that celebrates imagination even as it underscores enduring truths. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-927917-39-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

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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