Transitioning readers will feel accomplished and will surely look for future volumes to see what happens in Mia’s new life.

MIA MAYHEM IS A SUPERHERO!

From the Mia Mayhem series , Vol. 1

In this first volume of a new chapter-book series, a little girl named Mia discovers she’s a superhero.

Mia Macarooney is “a total disaster machine.” Everywhere she goes, chaos and mayhem follow (literally, in the case of Chaos—that’s the name of her cat). Except now she’s received an unusual letter, inviting her to the Program for In Training Superheroes, and she is totally bowled over. It turns out her accidents are often results of her superpowers, which she will learn to hone in her after-school hours at the PITS. As if that weren’t enough of a shock, Mia’s parents deliver the thrilling news that they are superheroes too! Her father is fluent in animal speech, and her mother can fly. Everything moves quickly at the PITS. Mia embarrasses herself in front of everyone during the entrance exam but ends up feeling supported and ready to learn…in the next volume. Freckled, brown-skinned, curly-fro–sporting Mia is an adorable protagonist. An overuse of exclamation points keeps the adrenaline running without a steady stream of exciting events—or even a climax and resolution—but with the large, bold type and the cute illustrations full of personality, emerging readers will be happy to read this book independently. What’s more exciting than that?

Transitioning readers will feel accomplished and will surely look for future volumes to see what happens in Mia’s new life. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3270-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound.

HOW TO CATCH A GINGERBREAD MAN

From the How To Catch… series

The titular cookie runs off the page at a bookstore storytime, pursued by young listeners and literary characters.

Following on 13 previous How To Catch… escapades, Wallace supplies sometimes-tortured doggerel and Elkerton, a set of helter-skelter cartoon scenes. Here the insouciant narrator scampers through aisles, avoiding a series of elaborate snares set by the racially diverse young storytime audience with help from some classic figures: “Alice and her mad-hat friends, / as a gift for my unbirthday, / helped guide me through the walls of shelves— / now I’m bound to find my way.” The literary helpers don’t look like their conventional or Disney counterparts in the illustrations, but all are clearly identified by at least a broad hint or visual cue, like the unnamed “wizard” who swoops in on a broom to knock over a tower labeled “Frogwarts.” Along with playing a bit fast and loose with details (“Perhaps the boy with the magic beans / saved me with his cow…”) the author discards his original’s lip-smacking climax to have the errant snack circling back at last to his book for a comfier sort of happily-ever-after.

A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0935-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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