The jokes, however, have improved since the first volume, and kids with a taste for weirdness will be eager to start again...

PATRICK GRIFFIN'S FIRST BIRTHDAY ON ITH

From the Patrick Griffin and the Three Worlds series , Vol. 2

Patrick Griffin’s second adventure seems to start over with every chapter.

Almost every chapter features a different character or a different location. Often, the character is a jackalope or a griffin or a numbat, which is a type of marsupial that sometimes enjoys Twinkies. Once in a while, Rust throws in a musical number or a pointed speech about politics. After Patrick disappears mysteriously from their home, his sister trenchantly points out that “most of the kids who go permanently missing that we don’t hear about aren’t from Westchester….And probably aren’t white.” (Although the races of human characters are almost never mentioned in the text, Patrick is explicitly described as a “rich, white, suburban kid.”) Every new chapter provides a clear introduction to the myriad characters, which may make the story a bit more accessible to people who haven’t read the first book in the trilogy. They’ll still be lost, though: the plot involves three parallel worlds, Earth, Ith, and Mindth (named after ears, eyes, and minds), and a cunning villain who’s put them all in danger. Parker’s precise, technical drawings of the various creatures help to clarify things, but only a little. The multiple plotlines keep the book unpredictable, but it also feels fragmented.

The jokes, however, have improved since the first volume, and kids with a taste for weirdness will be eager to start again with Book 3. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-344-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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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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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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