Book review: The Adventures of Wrong Man and Power Girl!, by C. Alexander London, illustrated by Frank Morrison

London, C. Alexander.  The Adventures of Wrong Man and Power Girl!  Illustrated by Frank Morrison.  Philomel Books,  2018.  ISBN 978-0-399-54893-2.  $17.99.  32 pages.  Ages 3-7.  Q5P5

Love the pictures in this comic book styled book!  The facial expressions, especially of Wrong Man after he blunders, are priceless.  Also love African American main characters and young girl heroes. Otherwise, the story lost my interest after a couple of pages.    Wrong Man and Power Girl are two super heroes trying to save their city from fires, burglaries, and mayhem.  The author makes it clear in the beginning these happenings are all in the powerful imagination of Power Girl.  The names of the super heroes pretty much sum it up.  The Dad being Wrong Man can only make things worse (delivering stinky cheese to fight a fire) and Power Girl, his daughter, must come to the rescue of not only the city folks, but her dad too!  This was cute and fun for about a minute.  Love that Power Girl’s solutions were often to dial 911!  Great skill – great message.  I applaud Power Girl saving the day, just thought the message of dad being always wrong was a little too strong.  The story finishes with Wrong Man doing one thing right.  Providing Ice Cream Cake.  That’s it?!?!?  I am open to the idea that I took this book far too seriously.

Verdict:  Great art, but the message of Dad always wrong was too strong for me.  Great messages overshadowed by idea that dads are good for almost nothing.

June 2019 review by Terri Lippert.

London, C. Alexander. The Adventures of Wrong Man and Power Girl. illus. Frank Morrison. Philomel Books, 2018. unp. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0-399-54893-2. Gr. 1+. P8 Q8

To Janice, a young girl, her parents are always right and this never changes in her world. In a make believe world she dreams up the super-duo of Wrong Man and Power Girl. This African-American team is presented in comic-book style, with bright action colored scenes that will draw the reader in. It is Power Girl who saves the day and cleans up her father’s messes. No job is too big or too small for them to take on. Super Girl is always fixing her dad’s foul ups.  This empowers her in seeing that there is another way to solve a mistake. It is her father, Wrong Man, who saves Super Girl at the end of the story.

Verdict: Children will spend a lot of time viewing this book whose message is that there are different ways of looking at things.

January 2019 review by Carol Bernardi.

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Book review: The Supervillain and Me, by Danielle Banas

Banas, Danielle. The Supervillain and Me. Swoon Reads, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781250154354. 310 pgs. Ages 12+. P8Q7

Morriston is having a crime wave, and the city’s “supers” (superheroes) are doing their best to fight it. High school student Abby’s brother is secretly one- the Red Comet. A new super in town may not be so super- in fact, it looks like the Iron Phantom is behind some serious crimes, including arson. But when he rescues Abby from an attempted mugging and she gets to know him a bit, she isn’t so sure that he’s a villain. The story feels light, witty and romantic, but has some serious themes too. Mind control, the long-term impact of violence on families, and what makes a person special all are important. I really liked the focus on how imperfect the supers are- they’re real people with super powers, but they have the full range of flaws and noble attributes that we all possess.

VERDICT: Whether they are looking for a romantic comedy or a superhero story, teens will enjoy this fast and fun read.

April 2019 review by Carol Schramm.

Book review: Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian, by Jacob Weinstein, illustrated by Vera Bristol

Weinstein, Jacob. Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian. Illustrated by Vera Bristol. Clarion Books, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9780544801226. Unpaged. Ages 4-7. P8Q8

Release your inner book super hero with this clever comic book style story! Doctor Glockenspiel has escaped from the Depository for the Criminally Naughty, and is intent on destroying all the books in the world with his giant, book eating moths. The world sends its best secret agents to stop him, but they are no match for the evil genius. The only one who can save the day is purple haired Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian! This very colorful book opens with purple end pages adorned with parachuting books. The story is filled with amusing details to keep both children and adults entertained.

Verdict: A must for the library! Children and adults will enjoy reading this over and over. Bonus: a girl superhero saves the day, a great message for all.

November 2018 review by Denyse Marsh.

Book review: Nick the Sidekick, by Dave Whamond

Whamond, Dave. Nick the Sidekick. Kids Can Press, 2018. $14.99. 48p. ISBN 978-1-77138355-4. Ages 6-9. P7Q5

In this debut to a probable series, Nick grows tired of his peers’ ridiculing his oversize ears and decides that his phenomenal hearing abilities should make him suitable as an “assistant” to Super Fantastic Guy. The hero of the book is a jerk, and Nick must save him by rescuing Super from a bank vault.

Verdict: Bright colors are inviting, and some may consider the plot cute. Unfortunately, both main characters are self-centered and unlikable.

March 2018 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: The Astounding Broccoli Boy, by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Boyce, Frank Cottrell.  The Astounding Broccoli Boy.  Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins Publishers, 2015.  384 pages, $17.89. ISBN:  978-0-06-240017-8.  Ages 8-12. Grades 3-7.  P7 Q9

boyce-broccoli-boyThis book grabbed my attention from the first page.  Rory Rooney compares his life with that of a superhero.  He even has an arch nemesis.  On top of everything else he keeps referring back to a book Don’t be Scared, Be Prepared.  What could prepare him for turning green?  Even with all the uncertainty of being broccoli green, he seems to, at least in his mind, have super powers. Each chapter starts with phrases you would see in comic books.  Throughout the reading of this book, I was giggling and amused at all the shenanigans that Rory got himself into.  This book is recommended for grades 3-7.  This would be a great book for a whole class read in upper elementary.  And, I think even early high school would love this book.  The characters build throughout this story, the writing flows and the plot leaves you wondering what is going to happen next.  Frank Cottrell Boyce has also written Cosmic, Framed, and MillionsMillions was also made into a movie.

March 2016 review by Fawn Ferguson.

Book review: Superhero Instruction Manual, by Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Mark Fearing

Dempsey, Kristy. Superhero instruction manual. Illustrated by Mark Fearing.  Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. unp. $16.99. ISBN:978-0-385-75534-4. Gr. 2+. P8 Q8

dempsey-superhero-instruction-manualThey say that everybody dreams of being a super hero. My son didn’t, he wanted to be a ghost buster. But then all children are different. If a being super hero is your dream, however, in just 7 easy lessons your dream can be fulfilled.  The colored illustrations will have children howling with laughter as they learn that it is kindness and helping that are the true lessons to being a superhero. The best point was that you learn that sisters too can be a superheroes.

Verdict: This book is a great tool to help children realize that girls and boys can reach for their dreams by using kindness and being helpful.

November 2016 review by Carol Bernardi.

Book review: The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party, by Shannon & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Hale, Shannon & Hale, Dean. The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Candlewick Press, 2015. $14.99. ISBN 9780763665111. 87 pgs. Ages 5-8. P8Q8

Hale Perfect Princess PartyPrincess Magnolia is having a birthday party, and has invited all her princess friends. She wants everything to be perfect, but every time she gets ready to open presents, her monster alarm goes off. So, she makes an excuse, slips away, changes into her Princess in Black outfit, deals with the monster and returns to her party. It is hilarious to watch her get progressively more irritated and bedraggled- her hair is messier and messier, and she ends up with her party dress on and backwards toward the end. The illustrations are funny and help the reader follow the story, and the text is fast paced and entertaining. I like these books. It’s interesting to see a character that has two very different personas, the girly-girl and the un-squeamish super hero.

May 2016 review by Carol Schramm.