A quick read about a girl sleuth whose fiery determination will leave readers wanting Book 2.

THE CASE OF THE TIME-CAPSULE BANDIT

From the Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective series , Vol. 1

Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan meet Nancy Drew. 

In this first novel by Oscar-winning actress Spencer, Randi Rhodes thrives on solving the mysteries that unfold in her busy Brooklyn neighborhood. Her father, Herb Rhodes, author of the best-selling Glenn Street detective novels, spent Randi’s childhood on book tours but stopped writing after his wife’s recent death from cancer. Ready for a change, Herb moves the family to the small town of Deer Creek, Tenn., where they always spend summer vacations. Shortly after their arrival, in the midst of the Founders’ Day Festival, someone steals the Deer Creek time capsule, which might hold the town’s treasure. Randi, a black belt in karate, teams up with hearing-impaired, asthmatic Dario “D.C.” Cruz and lithe African-American Pudge Taylor from Boston to crack the case of the missing time capsule. Replete with crooked politicians, a spooky house and a ghost, a stormy night, caves with bandits and bats, and several well-placed martial arts kicks, this novel will keep young readers guessing. Despite the difficulty of keeping track of the minor characters, readers will appreciate Randi’s determination to make a difference. A series of appendices includes ninja tips and recipes.

A quick read about a girl sleuth whose fiery determination will leave readers wanting Book 2. (Mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7681-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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