Hilarious, laugh-out-loud fun for middle-grade readers.



From the Justin Case series , Vol. 2

Justin tries to convince himself that, in spite of his well-earned nickname, he is not a worried kid anymore and that summer vacation means that there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

He forgoes Science Camp for the kind of camp where he will encounter “runny-aroundy kids” and challenges of a different kind, which he looks forward to facing with grim determination. Some old fears do persist, like the evil Boiler in the basement, Jell-O and the rug-shampooer. Scary thoughts have a way of sneaking up on him and it turns out that camp provides an endless number of new things to worry about. Changing clothes, jumping in cold water, getting hit with a ball of any size, Swim Test, counselors, Color War and those horrible flip-flops all fill him with terror. Written again in the form of a journal, this sequel reintroduces the thoroughly delightful Justin Case in all his worried glory and very active imagination. Vail employs language and syntax that perfectly capture the thought processes of this precocious almost–fourth grader. Cordell’s black line, scribble sketches depict some of the goofier actions and Justin’s wildest imaginings. Justin’s self-deprecating voice cannot hide his core sweetness and kindness, for he remains a great brother, a generous friend and a hero, too.

Hilarious, laugh-out-loud fun for middle-grade readers. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-00081-1

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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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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