Skip to main content

Send for a Superhero! by Michael Rose, illustrated by Katharine McEwen

Send for a Superhero! by Michael Rosen with illustration by  Katharine McEwen is the kind of super fun book that makes you stop and wonder why there aren't more picture books about, starring or including superheroes. Then, when you remember that there are quite a few books of this nature you remember that most of the are forgettable - short of Mini Grey's Traction Man Trilogy.

Rosen tells a story-within-a-story in Send for a Superhero!, with a father reading to his children at bedtime from the comic book, Send for a Superhero! In the world of the comic book, the Terrible Two, Filth, who "pours muck and slime over everything," and Vacuum, who can "suck money and jewels and treasure out of people's pockets, out of drawers, even out of banks," are in a rocket ship headed straight for earth and ready to destroy everything!

Siblings Emma and Elmer interact with each other in typically antagonistic ways, and also with dad, who they manage to trick into reading another chapter. What makes Send for a Superhero! super is the way that Rosen plays with the traditional comic book super hero story. Young Brad 40, resident of Townton and student in Miss Nice's Class Perfect, alerts the world to the impending doom, but she can't believe that anything bad could happen in Townton. Next, Brad 40 tries contacting the Mayor with his "handheld computer Z-Player" and gets the response he was hoping for. 

The Mayor sends for a superhero! Steel Man is defeated. Super-Flying-Through-the-Air-Very-Fast Man is slimed! Incredibly-Big-Strong-Green-Man takes a dive! Finally, Brad 40 tells the Mayor to send for Extremely Boring Man who puts the villains to sleep with his tedious talk and his grey, pale presence.

Even though this is a bedtime story, Send for a Superhero! probably isn't the best book to read if you want your little listeners to drift off to dreamland as you read. There is non-stop action and subtle humor that keeps you glued to the page, which is exactly what makes Send for a Superhero! a memorable superhero picture book that will be on the shelves for a long time. My only complaint? Even though all but one superhero is defeated, I wish that there was a more balanced gender representation in the story. Maybe the Mayor could have been a woman? And the teacher who thought Brad 40 was just crying wolf could have been a man? And just one of the defeated superheroes could have been a woman...

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…