Preschoolers everywhere can relate to the steely bravery, sheer willpower and steady determination it often takes to surmount the herculean obstacles a day can bring.
Kel Gilligan is no ordinary boy. He is a daredevil. He is “the boy without fear.” He can do amazing things all by himself: eat broccoli, face “the Potty of Doom,” get dressed, keep busy while Mom “finishes her conversation… / UNINTERRUPTED!!,” take “a bath with one assistant,” and “go to bed without checking the room for monsters.” The pages are peppered with word bubbles bearing over-the-top declarations from Kel and equally humorous reactions from Kel’s family members. Grandma always claps, while the others exclaim in awed disbelief when the stunt is accomplished. Santat depicts these impressive feats with illustrations that have a retro comic-book look. Kel is portrayed most often with a manly face with an expressive brow. He talks tough and looks even tougher…except when his nerves are tested. Can he really get that shirt on? Will Mom ever get off the phone? Who knew going potty would take so long? Whether he is in underpants, in his caped stuntman outfit or bare-bottomed, young readers (and their grown-ups) cannot help but laugh out loud at the hilarious details of Kel’s silly adventures because they tackle them daily and know them too well.
With true fearlessness and finely honed skills, this talented duo has created a most entertaining hero. (Picture book. 3-6)