For a bare-bones retelling of the original’s plot, this has no equal. Just don’t expect any more than that.

MOBY DICK

CHASING THE GREAT WHITE WHALE

Melville’s classic gets a lush, if wildly oversimplified, retelling under its author’s generally sure hand.

Call him Ishmael. To rhyming verse, one lad’s adventures on the Pequod are retold in brief, generally accurate detail. Readers meet the harpooner Queequeg (ambiguous ethnicity and tattooed head intact), the obsessed Ahab (red eyes matching that of the titular whale’s) and the crew. Ahab challenges his men to spot the leviathan, and after much searching, they find it, marking the beginning of the end for the Pequod and its crew. Kimmel’s rhymes scan with clarity from the start, and he has a genius for synthesizing the loquacious storyline down to its plot essentials. A pity he chooses to end the retelling with the simplistic and wholly un-Melville-ian lesson, “The moral of this story is, / as my sad tale has shown: / Respect all creatures, great and small, / and leave the whales alone!” The high point of the title turns out to be Glass’ art. His oil-and-pencil illustrations create a white whale hide interlaced with the scars of countless harpooners, his sheer girth a towering mountain of angry flesh. Readers will have little difficulty understanding the awe inspired by such a creature.

For a bare-bones retelling of the original’s plot, this has no equal. Just don’t expect any more than that. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-66297-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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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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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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