This original fantasy is laugh-out-loud funny and extremely engaging.

THE SERPENT'S SECRET

From the Kingdom Beyond series , Vol. 1

It is not very often one comes across a fantasy novel for young readers in which the protagonist is both Indian and an interdimensional demon slayer.

Kiranmala is a regular sixth-grader in Parsippany, New Jersey, until her life is thrown out of whack when her parents are cast into another dimension as the result of an imploding spell. To make matters worse, a drooling rakkhosh slams into her kitchen, ready to eat her. Kiran leaves on a quest to save her parents; she’s accompanied by two handsome Indian princes—Lal and Neel—and their flying pakkhiraj horses. What follows is a roller-coaster adventure into The Kingdom Beyond the Seven Oceans and Thirteen Rivers, where Kiran and her friends seek help from a bird who enjoys bad jokes, flee from demon groupies, and face the formidable Serpent King. Writing in smart and likable Kiran’s first-person voice, DasGupta successfully blends together American popular culture, Bengali folk tales, and witty dialogue in her hilarious debut. (The banter among Kiran and the bickering Lal and Neel alone will have readers in stitches.) A refreshing take on the hero’s quest in which almost all the characters are Indian (or are of Indian origin), this series opener explores both the pains of growing up and what it means to be a second-generation Indian-American.

This original fantasy is laugh-out-loud funny and extremely engaging. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18570-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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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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