This mouse-sized identity quest sparkles.

THE MOUSE WITH THE QUESTION MARK TAIL

Peck returns to the parallel mouse society he introduced in the effervescent Secrets at Sea (2011) for a rodent’s-eye view of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

Readers first meet the titular mouse, the book’s narrator, in the Royal Mews. A foundling, he’s been brought up by his “aunt” Marigold, who is fond of aphorisms. “Nameless is Blameless” is one of her favorites, used whenever her young charge asks who he is. Blameless he may be, but that doesn’t keep him out of scrapes. On the run from a couple of school bullies, he finds himself exposed, in his school uniform, on the floor of the royal riding school, where he is noticed by a human—most definitely not the done thing. In short order, he goes from this disgrace to refuge in a horse’s manger to a daylong stint as a Yeomouse of the Guard to the private chambers of Queen Victoria, where he blunders into secret upon secret, including, at the end, his identity. Peck binds this unlikely romp together with his characteristically witty and precise prose, flavored by an endearing blend of humility and superiority that only a British foundling mouse can muster. Details of the mouse world that bustles around and under the human world will enchant lovers of animal fantasy, and clever running jokes provide both humor and continuity (our poor hero is repeatedly asked, “Are you not yet full-grown, or just short?”).

This mouse-sized identity quest sparkles. (Animal fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3838-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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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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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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