Saturday, March 20, 2021

Cartoon Saturday- Shoe Wars and Super Side Kicks

Pichon, Liz. Shoe Wars
March 2nd 2021 by Scholastic Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Ruby and Bear live with their father, Bert Brogue, in a tiny house near Wendy Wedge's shoe factory. He used to have his own shop and designed fabulous shoes, but after his wife Sally's death from snake bite, he became despondent and gave in to Wendy's demands. She is pure evil (think Cruella deVil, but with evil shoes), and so is her son Walter, who of course attends school with Ruby and Bear. When their father invents a flying shoe, the children hope he can win the upcoming contest, and life will be better. Wendy has other plans.  along with her evil henchmen, she conspires to steal the shoes, enter them into the competition as her own, and then use this victory to rule the world. This book is listed as being 460 pages long, but with all of the pictures and large text, the story seems shorter. 
Strengths: Pichon has a great style, as we have seen in her Tom Gates. Quirky pictures, fun stories, and words that bounce all over the page make these a great transition to Notebook Novels for the growing number of students who ONLY want to read graphic novels. Ruby and Bear are working so hard to help their father, and they have to fight such evil to do it. Of course, the evil is over the top in a typically British, Roald Dahl type way. The use of different types of shoes for the names of characters was inspired, and I loved the surprise hero at the end. 
Weaknesses: A lot of the text is in bold print. While I'm used to text in books like Geronimo Stilton being in different colors, styles, etc., having so much bold print felt like screaming when I read it. Young readers will not care as much. 
What I really think: I would have gone with Stella Stiletto as the main character's name, but I guess that would be a bit much. If your students are fans of David Walliams' books, like Demon Dentist, and appreciate this goofy brand of cartoonish villainy, this book is perfect. 
Than, Gavin Aung. Super Side Kicks: No Adults Allowed
November 17th 2020 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

It's hard work being a super hero, but it's even harder work when you are the side kick to an unpleasant mentor! Junior Justice is tired of the vain Captain Perfect, who just has JJ do his laundry and other scut work. Flygirl is tired of the unpredictability of Rampaging Rita, and Dinomite is sick of being taken for granted by Blast Radius. Sure, he can change into the form of any dinosaur, but why isn't he appreciated for his degree in quantum physics and the fact that he speaks 47 languages. The three decide to set up their own group, but are joined by Goo, who is the sidekick of the very evil Dr. Enok. They are afraid of the galatinous mass at first, but he pleads his case that he is actually good and tired of being with his creator, who keeps him locked in a jar. The newly formed squad must deal with adversity before they can even create their super hero lair; their hero overlords want them back, and Dr. Enok is on the prowl to retrieve Goo. When the dust from the confrontations settles, will the Super Side Kicks be ready to battle the forces of evil on their own? 

With bright colors and sounds effects (ZZZAAAACK!) worthy of the 1960s television Batman program, No Adults Allowed is an impressive first book in a graphic novel series for middle grade and elementary readers. The words are well spaced on the page, often in white speech bubbles, and the illustrations are clear and lined in black. This sounds like a silly thing to say, but graphic novels are often beloved by struggling readers who have difficulties navigating the elements on the page, and Mr. Than did a great job at making each spread clear and accessible. 

The storyline is also well delineated and easy to follow. The children are good, the superheroes are not great caretakers, and the children yearn to be free. They defeat Dr. Enok because they are on the side of right, and the rescue the mistreated Goo. I wasn't a huge fan of the truncated, baby talk style in which Goo spoke, but younger readers will find this more acceptable. 

This Australian import (the side kicks resting place atop the Sydney Opera House was a good clue!) will be popular with younger readers who enjoyed Winnick's Halo series and Trine and Montijo's Melvin Beederman books, but is also a great choice for struggling middle school readers who are still enjoying Pilkey's Ricky Ricotta. I am looking forward to book two, Ocean's Revenge. (2021)

No comments:

Post a Comment