DasGupta once again wittily meshes Bengali folktales, intergalactic science, and a spectacular world of her own creation in...

GAME OF STARS

From the Kingdom Beyond series , Vol. 2

In this sequel to DasGupta’s middle-grade debut, The Serpent’s Secret (2018), readers learn that Parsippany, New Jersey, middle schooler Kiranmala has not returned to the Kingdom Beyond Seven Oceans and Thirteen Rivers for months.

In fact, none of the Indian-American’s friends from the Kingdom Beyond—especially princes Lalkamal and Neelkamal, their cousin Mati, and the bird Tuntuni—has contacted her since her departure. But after she is visited by the Rakkhoshi Queen under the cloak of night and prompted by an interdimensional television station to enter Who Wants to Be a Demon Slayer?, a multiverse reality game show, Kiranmala sets off to the Kingdom for another rollicking roller-coaster ride of an adventure, featuring a fork fight with a demon school dropout, an intergalactic auto-rikshaw ride, and a mind-boggling series of riddles with a ghost. In this outing DasGupta draws inspiration from American and South Asian pop culture in addition to Bengali folk and children’s literature, and an extensive author’s note provides readers with additional context for many of the cheeky references peppered throughout the book (the “Dead and Lovely” cream hawked in interdimensional TV ads is inspired by fairness creams that are ubiquitous on the Subcontinent, and “Samosa Drones” are a nod to Amazon’s suggestion that they might use drones for book deliveries). Kiran’s smart, funny voice will win new fans and gratify returning readers.

DasGupta once again wittily meshes Bengali folktales, intergalactic science, and a spectacular world of her own creation in a yarn that is part hero’s quest, part immigrant coming-of-age tale . (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-18573-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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Longing—for connection, for family, for a voice—roars to life with just a touch of magic.

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WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER

A young girl bargaining for the health of her grandmother discovers both her family’s past and the strength of her own voice.

For many years, Lily’s Korean grandmother, Halmoni, has shared her Asian wisdom and healing powers with her predominantly White community. When Lily, her sister, Sam—both biracial, Korean and White—and their widowed mom move in with Halmoni to be close with her as she ages, Lily begins to see a magical tiger. What were previously bedtime stories become dangerously prophetic, as Lily begins to piece together fact from fiction. There is no need for prior knowledge of Korean folktales, although a traditional Korean myth propels the story forward. From the tiger, Lily learns that Halmoni has bottled up the hard stories of her past to keep sadness at bay. Lily makes a deal with the tiger to heal her grandmother by releasing those stories. What she comes to realize is that healing doesn’t mean health and that Halmoni is not the only one in need of the power of storytelling. Interesting supporting characters are fully developed but used sparingly to keep the focus on the simple yet suspenseful plot. Keller infuses this tale, which explores both the end of life and coming-of-age, with a sensitive examination of immigration issues and the complexity of home. It is at one and the same time completely American and thoroughly informed by Korean culture.

Longing—for connection, for family, for a voice—roars to life with just a touch of magic. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1570-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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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