Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Book talk: When Captain Amazing gets injured while battling supervillains he takes a forced vacation to recover and announces that he'll be holding auditions for a new sidekick soon. Everyone is excited by this announcement, even Captain Amazing's pets. Years ago Static Cat was his sidekick, so they're hoping that he'll take on one of his pets again. Metal Mutt thinks his special abilities will put him at the head of the pack, and even the new pet chameleon's camouflage abilities could come in handy, but fluffy the hamster doesn't have any super powers. That won't stop him from trying though. Fluffy finds Static Cat and gets him to agree to train him how to fight crime despite his size and lack of powers. And when an old arch nemesis reappears Captain Amazing will need all of them if he wants to make it out alive.
Rocks my socks: This was a fun twist on comic heroes with pets taking the lead. There was a light-hearted ease to the story that pulled me in and I always enjoy stories of small characters using their intelligence to fight off larger enemies. Santat is sure to imbue the story with lessons like these as well as humor with Static Cat giving the advice that "a hero can't rely on his powers alone. You gotta use your brain." and Fluffy proudly declaring that he followed that advice and was able to defeat an enemy without getting in a fight. Themes of making up with friends and sticking with family guide the narrative. I loved Santat's author bio at the end in the form of an application for Captain Amazing's sidekick. This fun and humorous bio is representative of the book as a whole and is why it will appeal to kids.
Rocks in my socks: The characters are drawn very expressively, but the dialogue can be a bit generic and flat. The characters are typical archetypes and the plot straightforward as well.
Every book its reader: This isn't the strongest comic I've read recently, but the pet theme and humor (much of it bodily) will appeal to many third graders I know who go through comics quickly and are always on the look out for more. I'd give it to one of them without hesitation, but it wouldn't be the comic I use to introduce the genre to someone and I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone older than fifth grade.
Sidekicks by Dan Santat
Buy it or check it out today!