How to Grow Up and Rule the World by Vordak the Incomprehensible is a must have for all villains-in-training. However, readers with a bit of savvy will realize quickly that Vordak's intentions are not all generous. Early in the book we learn that Vordak is only willing to share the secrets of his eviltude because, and I quote,
Well, I'm not as young as I used to be. My neck grows weary of supporting my awe-inspiring Helmet of Discernment, and I simply no longer possess the energy required to conquer the planet myself. So, I've decided to go this route.
Parents, while I am sure you can relate to the ebbing of energy, but be forewarned: this moment of revelation for Vordak is simply the preface to tricking your children into years of servitude should, (as the "STANDARD EVIL PROMISE OF EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT notes) the signee (your child, reader of this book) become EVIL RULER OF THE WORLD (MUAHAHAHAHA!!), s/he agrees to,
appoint Vordak the Incomprehensible to the position of Second in Command (otherwise known as "Number 2," "Right-Hand-Man," "Second Banana," "Mr Fancy Pants") inclusive of all rights and privileges to which said position is entitled, including a private office, full health benefits, a reserved parking space, and the IMMEDIATE ASCENSION to the position of EVIL RULER OF THE WORLD (MUAHAHAHAHA!!) in the event that I [the signee] were to die suddenly in some totally unexpected manner such as being poisoned, having my brake lines cut, being pushed down a well, having plutonium injected into my bloodstream, being encased in cement and dropped into the Mariana Trench, being dismembered by a previously obedient domestic robot, having my bodily fluids slowly and painfully drained by a giant, mutated spider while I lay paralyzed in bed or anything else I might think of.
When the form, which Vordak insists be photocopied so that his "glorious book"is not marred by "sloppy handwriting and blunt-ended scissors," is completed, it is to be mailed to this address: Vordak the Incomprehensible c/o Walter and Irene the Incomprehensible." (There is also a funny bit about his parents and upbringing as well as his disappointingly nice brother Kyle who was put up for adoption.)
As you can see, Vordak is a slave to details, and it is the details that make Vordak the Incomprehensible: How to Grow Up and Rule the World (transcribed by minion Scott Seegert, illustrated by minion John Martin) infinitely readable, for boys age 8 - 12 especially. Actually, the three boys in my house, ages 6, 13 and 41, grabbed this book the minute they saw it and ran upstairs for some bedtime reading which was really more along the lines of frequent gut-busting laughter. The cover is definitely eye catching, and the interior is full of illustrations, graphs, charts, quizzes and more. Chapters include titles like, "Glorious Me," "Getting the Jump on Your EVIL Career," "SUPERHEROES - Noble Upholders of Justice or Big, Fat, Stupid Jerks?" "The EVIL Lair" and "Congratulations, You Rule the World! Now What?"
Some of my favorite parts of the book include "Vordak the Incomprehenisble's Staggeringly Complete Utility Belt Contents Checklist," "Evil Supermenace Mask Selection Chart," "Vordak the Incomprehenisble's Evil Lair Upgrade Chart,"Vordak the Incomprehenisble's Six Mistakes to Avoid When Using an Ultimatum," and, of course, "Vordak the Incomprehenisble's Inconceivably Evil Evil Name Generator." My evil, evil name is ZALZAR the UNRELENTING!
There is also a pretty cool website (some parts still under construction) that accompanies the book where you can visit Sinister Syd's Evil Accessories online shop. Sadly, the Flesh Eating Nanobots and the Small Explosives Variety Pack were sold out. There was a 398 day waiting period for the ValueLine Disposable Laser Pistol and the Crushing Walls of Doom Spike Sharpener was on back order. But, if your little Evil-Rulers-in-Training fancy a Terrifying Tee, Calamitous Cape or some Heinous Headwear, that can be obtained from Syd's shop.
Do we have the next Captain Underpants on our hands? Vordak the Incomprehensible: How to Grow Up and Rule the World is more complex (seriously) and more mature (really) and more likely to inspire creative play and creativity among readers. I have a feeling there will be a lot of Vordaks ringing my doorbell this Halloween. Scott Seegert has a HILARIOUS sense of humor and has left nothing out of this book. The illustrations have a Saturday Morning Cartoon feel to them and kids who love (or would love) Scooby-Doo and any of the recent crop of movies like Monsters vs Aliens, Despicable Me and the upcoming MEGAMIND will get this book instantly. But, really, it is for the kid, boy or girl, who is interested in the nuts and bolts of the subject - this isn't an easy read like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and most readers probably will not read it straight through. There is so much to think and laugh about that it is the kind of book you can open at random and get something great out of. Just try to be in the same room as your child when s/he reads it - I guarantee you, if they are not reading it out loud to you, you will ask them to when you hear them laughing every few minutes!
And finally, my favorite part of the book comes in the form of illustrated Rolodex cards and is a run down of the Superheroes that Vordak is "nauseatingly familiar" with. THE AMAZING TODDLER MAN takes the cake for me. Here are his stats:
Identity: Todd Lerman
Origin: Was bitten on the hand by a radioactive two-year-old
Powers/Strengths: Possesses the proportionate strength, agility, and snot production of a two-year-old. Strength (and snot production) multiplies hundrefold when having a temper tantrum. If he closes his eyes, you can't see him.
Weaknesses: Will eat anything. Gets cranky after 7:30 pm. Requires afternoon naps. Has been known to "drop a stinky" while battling adversaries. Poor balance.
Weapons/Accessories: Will pick up and throw objects he finds lying about, usually after putting them in his mouth first.
Notes: Easily lured into diabolically clever yet extremely slow-acting death traps with cookies, candy or music from Dora the Explorer.
Reminds me a bit of my husband...