A good choice for lovers of animal and friendship stories.

MY BEST FRIEND IS EXTINCT

In the middle of a blizzard, a young boy helps an injured prehistoric animal.

This is the story of 10-year-old Henry, who has moved with his mother—his father died when he was small—to a snowy mountain town where it has been hard to make friends. Making matters worse is a concussion he sustained when bullies collapsed a snow tunnel onto him. When Henry finds an injured prehistoric short-faced bear, he names him Yarp and, in secret, nurses him back to health. But what creature injured Yarp in the first place? Henry is determined to keep his new friend safe, but this proves to be a difficult challenge with no assistance from adults. There are two distinct modes for this title, which combines the simple reality of loneliness with the fantasy of befriending extinct animals. Fans of prehistoric animals will gobble up the exciting sections with saber-toothed cats, although the reason these creatures are milling about is not explained. A different rhythm is created around the story elements that address trying to make friends and telling lies, which gets Henry into trouble. Unfortunately, supporting characters are less well developed than the lead, but, ultimately, the story comes to a dramatic and tidy end. Soft pen-and-ink illustrations throughout add charm to the story.

A good choice for lovers of animal and friendship stories. (map) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2442-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE REVOLTING REVENGE OF THE RADIOACTIVE ROBO-BOXERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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