A gently whimsical rumination about compromise and friendship.

KONDO & KEZUMI REACH BELL BOTTOM

From the Kondo & Kezumi series , Vol. 2

Stormy waters await two friends on the high seas.

In this follow-up to Kondo & Kezumi Visit Giant Island (2020), best pals Kondo and Kezumi are back in their tiny boat, sailing toward new adventures. Kondo wants to stick with their plans to visit Spaghetti Island, but Kezumi is easily distracted by nearby wonders. Her curiosity piqued, she longs to follow schools of carrot-colored, long-eared sea jumpers bounding out of the water and to explore a mysterious rusty ship. Kondo, however, is frustrated by Kezumi’s constant diversions, wishing to stay on course. When the duo shipwrecks on a strange new island, their tensions come to a head, and each stomps off angrily in opposite directions. Kezumi finds an immense broken warning bell and wants to fix it but cannot move it without Kondo’s help; will they be able to reconcile and work together? Adhering to stereotypes, Kondo, the yellow male character, is markedly larger and stockier than female Kezumi, who is orange, frilled, and slight. This quibble aside, Goodner and Tsurumi’s tale offers many alluringly adorable two-page illustrated spreads, with text divided into readably short chapters. The pacing pulls readers along like a swift current, and worldbuilding is playful and unexpected, dialing up the imagination and creating a new dimension for this tried-and-true friendship tale.

A gently whimsical rumination about compromise and friendship. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5473-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Little, Brown

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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