THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING MEXICAN MOLÉ

From the Word Travelers series , Vol. 2

What begins as curiosity about the meaning of a word—thanks to a chocolate bar with the word CHOCOLATL imprinted on it—becomes a journey of a lifetime.

Intrigued by the chocolate bar, MJ and Eddie rush to grab the Awesome Enchanted Book (AEB, as they call it) to look up the word’s origin. They learn that chocolatl is an ancient Aztec word, and soon enough the AEB spins its magic, transporting the duo away. MJ and Eddie wind up in vibrant Mexico, where a young girl named Rosa recruits them on a mission to help find her missing Abuelita. Only Abuelita knows the recipe for the special molé that will help Rosa’s family restaurant during Dia de los Muertos. The three young detectives, however, must move quickly. After all, the owner of a competing restaurant covets the molé recipe for himself. Following a series of riddles left behind by Abuelita, MJ, Eddie, and Rosa travel across Mexico—from Frida Kahlo’s La Casa Azul to the rainforests of Jalapa—to find Abuelita and obtain the secret recipe. A candy-flavored etymological romp through a kaleidoscope version of Mexico, this latest episode in the series keeps the word-happy spirit of its predecessor and manages to infuse a sunny strand of humor. Cultural exploration and lively artwork continue this series’ dedication to knowledge-seeking in the name of fun, with a small, diverse cast. (MJ appears Black and Eddie, White.)

Heart and molé. (glossary) (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72824-085-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

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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