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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As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

CAPTAIN AWESOME TO THE RESCUE!

From the Captain Awesome series , Vol. 1

The town of Sunnyview got a little bit safer when 8-year-old Eugene McGillicudy moved in.

Just like his comic-book mentor, Super Dude, Eugene, aka Captain Awesome, is on a one-man mission is to save the world from supervillains, like the nefarious “Queen Stinkypants from Planet Baby.” Just as Eugene suspected, plenty of new supervillains await him at Sunnyview Elementary. Are Meredith Mooney and the mind-reading Ms. Beasley secretly working together to try and force Eugene to reveal his secret identity? Will Principal Brick Foot succeed in throwing Captain Awesome into the “Dungeon of Detention?” Fortunately, Eugene isn’t forced to go it alone. Charlie Thomas Jones, fellow comic-book lover and Super Dude fan, stands ready and willing to help. When the class hamster goes missing, Captain Awesome must don his cape and, with the help of his new best friend, ride to the rescue. Kirby’s funny and engaging third-person narration and O’Connor’s hilarious illustrations make the book easily accessible and enormously appealing, particularly to readers who have recently graduated to chapter books. But it is the quirky, mischievous Eugene that really makes this book special. His energy and humor are contagious, and his dogged commitment to his superhero alter ego is enough to make anyone a believer.  

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4090-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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Silly and slimy—superfun! (Picture book. 5-8)

SUPERWORM

Toads and insects give a shout, and Superworm will help you out!

“Superworm is super-long. / Superworm is super-strong. / Watch him wiggle! See him squirm! / Hip, hip, hooray for SUPERWORM!” When a baby toad jumps into the road, Superworm becomes a lasso and saves his bacon. When the bees become bored, Superworm makes a perfect jump-rope. When a beetle falls down a well, Superworm can fish her out. But what happens when the evil Wizard Lizard and his servant crow wormnap Superworm and cast a spell to make him do Wizard Lizard’s bidding? “Action! Quickly! At the double! / Superworm’s in frightful trouble! / We must help him if we can. / We must hatch a cunning plan!” All the garden creatures band together to capture Wizard Lizard and send him to the garbage dump, ensuring that Superworm will be back indeed to help his buggy friends in need. The British duo behind the Gruffalo books and Stick Man (2009) reteam to tell a tale of friendship and cooperation. The unlikely superhero with his googly eyes and winning smile will be hit, and the rhythmic rhyme will have audiences chanting along by the end of the story. At this point in their collaboration, Donaldson and Scheffler know exactly how to complement each other’s work.

Silly and slimy—superfun! (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-59176-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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