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ZERO THE HERO by Joan Holub


by Joan Holub & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Age Range: 7 - 12

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9384-1
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

The counting numbers get their comeuppance in the havoc that breaks out after they fail to believe in Zero’s heroic powers.

Brimming with self-confidence, Zero sports a red cape and black mask. But looking and feeling like a hero do not help him when it comes to fitting in with one through nine. Left out and teased, he still stays positive, even though he is virtually useless at adding and subtracting, and goodness knows, division by zero is pointless. But the heretofore-unflappable Zero meets his match in multiplication. Questioning the qualities of a hero who multiplies “his friends into nothingness,” Zero rolls away. It isn’t long before the other numbers value (and miss) the important place he holds…even more so when they are captured by a cadre of Roman numerals. Luckily, Zero hears their cries and flies to the rescue, which finally earns him hero status with his friends. While the story would hold all on its own, the tongue-in-cheek humor combined with Lichtenheld’s wonderfully personified cast of characters (complete with sassy speech bubbles and expressive faces) makes this a book kids will reach for again.

A hero and some villains and good winning over evil (oh, and all that educational stuff, too), all wrapped in humor and tied with a comic bow—what could be better? (Picture book. 7-12)