A madcap, magical blend of fluff and other good stuff.


From the Not-So-Impossible Tales series , Vol. 3

Two kids and their 66 pugs enter a magical dog-sled race.

The Cakes in Space (2015) team returns for a ridiculous winter adventure story. When the ocean freezes solid right underneath their boat—and also freezes the boat itself—the Lucky Star’s crew faces tough decisions. Shen’s left behind with their cargo of 66 pugs. He finds a nearby town and learns that the frozen ocean’s caused by True Winter, a once-in-a-lifetime event heralding a race to the top of the world—the winner gets a wish from the Snowfather. Shen and Sika hitch the pugs to her elderly’s grandfather’s sled—he nearly won last True Winter, and Sika’s wish is for him to become well and live long enough to race again. The wacky competitors include a villainous Brit who loves to cheat (with tricks like the classic misleading detour sign). The obstacles on the race range from yetis (who have a noodle bar, because “Yeti Spaghetti Bar sounded too obvious”) to a Kraken. (McIntyre’s doofy, bug-eyed pugs are never more hilarious than in the glorious two-page spread where they battle the sea monster.) As the Snowfather can’t save Sika’s grandfather, the story’s silliness seamlessly transitions to musings about the immortality of stories and an old man’s positive end-of-life portrayal.

A madcap, magical blend of fluff and other good stuff. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-38796-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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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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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.


From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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