If the laughs don’t keep the pages turning, the action will.

FINN AND THE INTERGALACTIC LUNCHBOX

From the Finniverse series , Vol. 1

Can the fate of the universe depend on a unicorn lunchbox?

Eleven-year-old Finn Foley, his mother, and his younger sister, Kate, moved to Cold Spring near the Hudson River when his dad walked out. He hates it. Every day since school started, bully Lincoln Sidana has made his life miserable. Their most recent dust-up lands them in the principal’s office, locked in until they become friends. Totally unlikely…but then so is a wormhole opening in Kate’s lunchbox, brought by Finn to school by mistake. The wormhole sucks Finn in and spits out a high-tech robot named Highbeam. Finn is quickly sucked back to Earth, but a strange piece of alien technology has grafted itself onto his chest—and every time he touches the lunchbox, he zips through space. Highbeam’s from a part of the universe where a race called the Plague—they look like giant locusts—has conquered and laid waste to countless civilizations. The Plague wants the wormhole generator, and now they know about Earth. Can Finn and friends defeat an intergalactic scourge? Buckley kicks off his new SF/adventure series with this high-energy, slightly sarcastic opener. Realistic kids, wild aliens, and unicorns sure to surprise readers add to the fun. Finn presents white, but the supporting cast is multiethnic, mostly cued by naming convention (Lincoln’s implied South Asian). The whizz-bang, globe-threatening finish has closure but sets up Book 2 nicely.

If the laughs don’t keep the pages turning, the action will. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-64687-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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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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