Hildegarde, practical and religious leader of all 219 church mice residing in St. Bartholemew’s, may be an “old lady,” but she handles threats with aplomb. “[I]ncessant reproduction” and energetic activity lead to exposure of their hidden existence. Fearing an annihilating Great X, Hildegarde and her helpers nibble away the phone book’s “x” page so the priest can’t make the appointment; when this fails (because Extermination actually starts with “e”), Hildegarde savvily charges 52 mice to each cover a deadly Glue Board with a playing card from Father Murphy’s solitaire deck. Then St. Francis’ feast day arrives, when cats are welcome (yikes). Sending her flock into hiding, Hildegarde boldly adorns herself in a gumdrop hat and walks majestically down the church aisle—in plain sight—during the pet blessings, leaving Father Murphy no choice but to tenderly bless this mouse. Like the young readers of this book, the mice glide unbothered and uncomprehending past the occasional mature reference (Alcoholics Anonymous and “X-rated DVDs,” mentioned without illumination), though they do understand Lowry’s specialized, high-level vocabulary (alb, chasuble, sacrosanct—they are church mice, after all). This gently Christian piece with Rohmann’s earnest pencil illustrations will please talking-animal fans. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-39009-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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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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