A middle-grade origin story for Squirrel Girl, one of Marvel Comics’ wackiest superheroes.
Cheerful, silly, white, chubby-cheeked Doreen Green moves from sunny California to a surly New Jersey town besieged by mean girls, a minor crime wave, wild dogs, and horrific squirrel traps. Although her initial optimism is squashed in a typical fish-out-of-water new-kid story (which reaches a low point with the old new-kid-eating-lunch-in-the-bathroom cliché), it takes a lot to keep Doreen down. She’s special—born with squirrel abilities proportional to her human size, including the ability to communicate with them, and a giant fluffy tail. Soon her heroics come out and draw the attention of an aspiring supervillain just waiting to make his name by sending his evil machines against a nemesis. The villain’s cleverness makes him a good match for Squirrel Girl, who utilizes help from her friends (including squirrel Tippy-Toe and her deaf, Latina best friend, Ana Sofía) and exchanges comical text messages with famous Marvel characters in search of advice. The story is told in alternating chapters narrated in the first person for Tippy-Toe and third person for Doreen and Ana Sofía; the third-person account is interrupted, however, by first-person commentary from Doreen via footnotes. Early on, too many footnotes interrupt the narrative rhythm without serving enough purpose, but eventually her charm wins out.
Despite a rough start, Doreen’s story offers a heroine it’s easy to go nuts over. (Science fiction. 8-12)