A very funny, solid little side quest with great characters.

JUNE'S WILD FLIGHT

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 6

A special solo adventure following The Midnight Blade (2019) for intrepid reporter June Del Toro.

During the middle of an equipment test, the “last kids” of the series title are interrupted by a band of banditlike Rifters chasing a mysterious creature. In the chaos, June’s DoomKart ends up dragged far away before she can liberate herself for a solo adventure—well, almost solo, as cute mascot-type character Globlet joins her. They follow a scream and find the creature, cornered by the Rifters—who plan to take it to Thrull, instrumental in the takeover of the Earth. After a daring, explosive rescue, June realizes the creature’s a baby Winged Wretch—but unlike other Wretches June’s encountered, he’s not evil, so she decides to help him get back to his kind. Along the way, her party is rounded out by comic-relief character Johnny Steve, an “oversized-owl dude” and a self-proclaimed expert on humans with hilariously wrong facts. They face dangerous obstacles and reversals before a strong theme of belonging and interconnection emerges to add heart to the jokes and action, a theme that emphasizes June’s separation from the original cast and harks back to the first book. The art is well integrated into the story, especially helpful in blocking the frequent action sequences. The ending pushes along the series’ overall storyline. June is implied to be Latinx; Quint appears black; Dirk and Jack seem white.

A very funny, solid little side quest with great characters. (Horror/adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11718-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey.

A WOLF CALLED WANDER

Separated from his pack, Swift, a young wolf, embarks on a perilous search for a new home.

Swift’s mother impresses on him early that his “pack belongs to the mountains and the mountains belong to the pack.” His father teaches him to hunt elk, avoid skunks and porcupines, revere the life that gives them life, and “carry on” when their pack is devastated in an attack by enemy wolves. Alone and grieving, Swift reluctantly leaves his mountain home. Crossing into unfamiliar territory, he’s injured and nearly dies, but the need to run, hunt, and live drives him on. Following a routine of “walk-trot-eat-rest,” Swift traverses prairies, canyons, and deserts, encountering men with rifles, hunger, thirst, highways, wild horses, a cougar, and a forest fire. Never imagining the “world could be so big or that I could be so alone in it,” Swift renames himself Wander as he reaches new mountains and finds a new home. Rife with details of the myriad scents, sounds, tastes, touches, and sights in Swift/Wander’s primal existence, the immediacy of his intimate, first-person, present-tense narration proves deeply moving, especially his longing for companionship. Realistic black-and-white illustrations trace key events in this unique survival story, and extensive backmatter fills in further factual information about wolves and their habitat.

A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey. (additional resources, map) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-289593-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE REVOLTING REVENGE OF THE RADIOACTIVE ROBO-BOXERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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