key, Dav. Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers: Captain Underpants #9
28 August 2012, Scholastic, Inc.
Reviewed at Young Adults Books Central
At the end of Captain Underpants And The Preposterous Plight Of The Purple Potty People (2006), Mr. Krupp (aka Capt. Underpants) was imprisoned for robbing a bank, and George and Harold were in the Piqua Juvenile Detention Center for the same crime. We find, however, that thiswas supposed to happen but did not. When Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) invented a time machine, his interference changed the course of world events. To understand how this happened, we see Tippy create his giant robotic pants and free all three of our protagonists before fleeing to the past to avoid destrution. We then go back even further to when Harold and George started kindergarten. They had to deal with Mr. Krupp's evil nephew, Kipper, who with his gang was bullying kindergartners, taking their money and giving them wedgies. George and Harold deal with this in extremely clever and funny ways (I'll have to check now to make sure no one has replaced my deodorant with jalapeno cream cheese!), culminating in a terrifyingly effective plot involving haunted lockers and a power outage that would have ended well... if Tippy Tinkletrousers and his giant robotic pants didn't come from the future and result in Mr. Krupp being dismissed from being principal, and thus never becoming Captain Underpants. Tippy is faced with the horrible understanding that in order to save the world from a horrific fate, he must save Captain Underpants! Is it too late? We'll have to wait until 15 January 2013 and read Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers to find out! As always, Pilkey's writing and illustrations are full of laugh-out-loud, goofy episodes that can't be considered great literature but do include awesome Flip-o-Rama scenes.
Surly Teen Boy, who started reading this series as a kindergartner in 2000, snagged this one right away and did notice one problem-- the first book was published in 1997, and assuming the book takes place contemporaneously, this would put George and Harold in kindergarten in about 1992. Cell phones that text and take video would not have been available to many elementary school students at that point in time, but they are depicted as being widely used. Hmmm.
Levy, Joanne. Small Medium at Large.
3 July 2012, Bloomsbury
At her mother's wedding, Delilah is struck by lightning. When she wakes up in the hospital, she can hear the voice of her father's mother, Bubby Dora. The problem? Bubby has been dead for four years. Lilah is very concerned about starting junior high and has a huge crush on Andrew, but her grandmother is more concerned with getting Lilah's father back into the dating scene. Lilah soon finds out that other dead people beside her grandmother can talk to her, and she encourages her music teacher, at the behest of his dead girlfirend, to get his band back together, and is able to give Andrew some messages from his father. All of Lilah's friends believe in her powers, but she doesn't tell her father about Bubby. Her father gets back into dating (he likes Andrew's mother best-- not awkward at all), Lilah survives school, and things go fairly well despite Lilah's new powers. Feels like there could be a sequel.
Strengths: Love the title, and the cover is good. There has been a resurgence in girls asking for magical realism books, and this fits that bill. A pleasant, light read.
Weaknesses: I have a strong, personal revulsion for books that talk about the "trauma" getting ones first bra, or period, or shaving one's legs. I always have, even when I was eleven. I don't really ask my readers if they like this or not, because again, awkward. Really? Lilah's mother wouldn't have gotten her a bra before the wedding? She has to go shopping with her dad (and her dead grandmother)? Oh, well. Maybe the girls like it. They like Lauren Myracle.