Thin soup compared to a conventional prose narrative—but enough to carry readers along and to give them at least a sense of...

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

THE ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

From the Fantastic Beasts series , Vol. 1

A handsomely packaged version of the dialogue and staging directions for the recently released film.

Rowling has expanded her slim 2001 Harry Potter spinoff into a multiepisode storyline, and this is the first. Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in 1926 New York with a bag—much larger inside than out—full of rare creatures. In short order, he not only allows several of them to escape, but falls afoul of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (the local equivalent of the Ministry of Magic). Mad escapades ensue, featuring wizardly duels and encounters with all sorts of exotic fauna from Occamies to Bowtruckles. The script presented here sticks closely to the screen version, but both the printed lines and the italicized stage directions add nuance and details that may elude even close viewers of the movie. Newt’s walk, for instance, is described at the outset as conveying “an unselfconscious Keatonesque quality,” and a later comment that “Occamies are choranaptyxic” invites more pondering than the live action allows. Also, rather than using images from the film, Rowling’s rare and sketchy line drawings in the original edition have been replaced here with decorative swashes on every page and stylized animal forms, all done in elegantly calligraphic pen strokes. A glossary of film terms and partial lists of the film cast and crew are appended.

Thin soup compared to a conventional prose narrative—but enough to carry readers along and to give them at least a sense of the characters and their milieu. (Fantasy script. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-338-10906-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

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An intense referendum on football’s dangers and glories.

FINAL SEASON

A star 12-year-old quarterback has a championship to win, a developing family tragedy to cope with, and a life-changing decision to make.

Barely disguising the autobiographical elements contained here in the wake of his own diagnosis of ALS, former Atlanta Falcons player Green places his protagonist, Ben Redd, in a football family and on an upstate New York team coached by his dad and two older brothers—all former gridiron stars themselves. Ben’s anticipation as he looks forward to a season that will be capped by a game against archrival Penn Yan battles with his terror as he watches his father’s NFL injuries come home to roost in slurred speech, loss of physical coordination, and, eventually, a frantic trip to the hospital for an emergency tracheotomy. But as Ben’s parents, both iron willed, clash over whether he should be allowed to follow the family career path (and one of his brothers even announces that none of his kids will ever play), the sport’s allure comes through in a series of exciting clashes, with Ben and wonderfully hard-nosed new teammate, Thea Jean, leading the on-field heroics on the way to a last-yard, smash-mouth finale that leaves him dazed and exultant, with a broken finger, a probable concussion…and a choice of futures. Though the cast is mostly male and mostly White, between them, Thea and Ben’s mom add strong female representation.

An intense referendum on football’s dangers and glories. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-248595-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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