Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Kirby, Stan. Captain Awesome to the Rescue.
Eugene would be a better Captain Awesome would be a better superhero if his mother hadn't packed his cape when he moved to a new town. Never fear! Once he finds it, he is out to save the world from villians like his baby sister, Queen Stinkypants, just like his hero Super Dude does. When the class hamster goes missing, Eugene and his new friends manage to figure out who the culprit is.

This is book one in a new series coming out soon from Little Simon. The next books are Captain Awesome vs. Nacho Cheese Man, Captain Awesome and the New Kid and Captain Awesome Takes a Dive.

Coven, Wanda. Heidi Heckelbeck has a Secret.
Heidi has been home schooled, but when her brother Henry starts kindergarten, her mother sends her off to the wilds of second grade. Heidi is apprehensive that she won't be able to do the things she wants, and it doesn't help when another student, Melanie, is very bratty to her, telling her that she smells, suggesting to the drama teacher that Heidi should be an apple tree in the Wizard of Oz production, and eventually ruining Heidi's self portrait in art class. Heidi is consoled by the fact that the teachers and other students are supportive of her... and by the fact that she is actually a witch. This is also the beginning of a new series that continues with Heidi Heckelbeck Casts a Spell, Heidi Heckelbeck and the Cookie Contest and Heidi Heckelbeck in Disguise.
Strengths: I can see younger students enjoying both of these series. The books are a bit longer than I Can Read Books but still include pictures and large text.
Weaknesses: Both of these seemed very negative about school, and both main characters were rather unhappy. This was a bit off putting for someone who spent first grde reading about empowered children like Haywood's Betsy or Encyclopedia Brown. I don't think that either of these would speak to middle school students, even though some series for younger readers, like Captain Underpants or Babymouse, sometimes do.


  1. I've ordered Heidi for our beginning chapter series - glad to know you think it will be popular.

    I think the school experience is a lot more negative for kids than it used to be - I just had a parent in last week who put her two homeschooled boys in school in January. They are both excellent, enthusiastic readers - or they were. Now they are starting to hate/refuse reading because their teacher has strict rules about what they can and can't read. Our district just this year extended the Scholastic Reading Counts/lexiles thing up through middle school. I have seen no appreciable gain for kids with poor reading skills, only the negative effects on kids who were enthusiastic readers.

  2. My 2nd grader just read Captain Awesome this week. He loved it.

    Your end comment makes me sad. I've been trying to steer him towards Encyclopedia Brown, which are on his AR level to no avail. . . . .i

  3. Maybe he'd like Doyle and Fossey? It's similar to Encyclopedia, you get a mystery with all the clues and have to solve it, but the mysteries are science mysteries and there's experiments in the back of the book. They've been really popular at my library.