Rev up your flux capacitors, because the space-time continuum will never be the same again! (Picture book. 4-7)

THE TROUBLE WITH TIME TRAVEL

Want to get back to the future? Better rectify the past—and fast!

One slip of the wrist, and the next thing Max knows her Frisbee has thoroughly smashed her 18th-century ancestor’s vase (the sole thing saved when the woman’s houseboat mysteriously sank). Facing the daunting prospect of fessing up, Max opts instead to rewrite the past by inventing a time-travel machine with the hope of pre-destroying the vase. But while time travel may be a science, it apparently isn’t an exact science, and Max finds herself to be the cause of the houseboat’s demise in the first place. At last she comes up with a new solution, but will her past self heed her future self’s warning? Although this is as nicely convoluted as any good time-travel yarn should be, older children should have no difficulty piecing together its coincidences and repercussions. What could have felt like a “Calvin and Hobbes” retread is instead fresh and new. Max’s path of destruction cuts through a swath of time, and it abounds in clever visual gags including the fates of the Sphinx’s nose and the Venus de Milo’s arms as well as the occasional futuristic robot uprising. Reds and blues suffuse the visual palette, and while Max, who presents white, and her hijinks read well, the eclectic, energetic art steals the show.

Rev up your flux capacitors, because the space-time continuum will never be the same again! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77147332-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An action-packed romp.

EVEN SUPERHEROES HAVE BAD DAYS

Superheroes deal with their emotions.

What happens when the empowered have a terrible day? Becker posits that while they could go on destructive sprees and wreak havoc, the caped crusaders and men and women of steel harness their energies and direct it in constructive ways. Little readers filled with energy and emotion may learn to draw similar conclusions, but the author doesn’t hammer home the message. The author has much more fun staging scenes of chaos and action, and Kaban clearly has a ball illustrating them. Superheroes could use laser vision to burn down forests and weather powers to freeze beachgoers. They could ignore crime sprees and toss vehicles across state lines. These hypothetical violent spectacles are softened by the cartoonish stylizations and juxtaposed with pages filled with heroic, “true” efforts such as rounding up criminals and providing fun at an amusement park. The illustrations are energetic and feature multicultural heroes. The vigorous illustrations make this a read for older children, as the busyness could overwhelm very little ones. While the book’s formula recalls How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and its many sequels, the relative scarcity of superhero picture books means there’s a place on the shelf for it.

An action-packed romp. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1394-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A strong series start.

GAME OVER, SUPER RABBIT BOY!

From the Press Start! series , Vol. 1

In a video game, a superpowered rabbit must rescue a singing dog that brings everyone happiness.

In the frame story, a brown-skinned human protagonist plays a video game on a handheld console evocative of the classic Nintendo Gameboy. The bulk of the book relates the game’s storyline: Animal Town is a peaceful place where everyone is delighted by Singing Dog, until the fun-hating King Viking (whose black-mustachioed, pink-skinned looks reference the Super Mario Brothers game series villain, Wario) uses his army of robots to abduct Singing Dog. To save Singing Dog—and fun—the animals send the fastest among them, Simon the Hedgehog, to get Super Rabbit Boy (who gains speed and jumping powers by eating special carrots) to save the day. The chapters take Super Rabbit Boy through video game levels, with classic, video game–style settings and enemies. Throughout the book, when the game’s player loses either a life in the game or the game entirely, the unnamed kid must choose to persevere and not give up. The storylines are differentiated by colorful art styles—cartoonish for the real world, 8-bit pixel-sprite–style for the game. The fast, repetitive plot uses basic, simple sentences and child-friendly objects of interest, such as lakes of lava, for children working on reading independence, while the nerdy in-jokes benefit adults reading with a child.

A strong series start. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03472-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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