MAX AND THE SUPERHEROES

A little boy’s obsession with his favorite superhero turns out to be not an obsession at all in this Spanish import.

“Max is crazy about superheroes.” He loves to dress like one, and he reads every comic book he can get his hands on. All superheroes are awesome, but Max’s absolute favorite is Megapower. She wears a short blue dress with a gold lightning bolt on it as well as a long red cape, red cowl, and red boots. Some of his friends are skeptical about a female superhero, but Max knows that Megapower can deactivate bombs, program computers, and “control a million robots at once.” She’s superintelligent and incredibly strong, and she has “amazing ultravision.” Max knows all this because he knows Megapower. She takes him to fabulous places and displays her superpowers all over the house. Best of all is “when she puts on her Mommy costume and gives Max a kiss good night.” Cleverly, Bonilla and Malet reveal Max’s superhero secret rather than explicitly stating it. The story enumerates Megapower’s skills twice, once with illustrations of conventional fantastic feats (like hoisting a train) and once around the house (like rescuing a cat), still in costume. The illustrations blend a loose line-and-watercolor style for Max and his world with the closely modeled look of a comic book, a contrast that’s especially effective in Megapower’s scenes at home. The cast appears to be an all-white one.

Mommy rules! Delightful. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-844-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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