Captain Awesome No. 8: Captain Awesome vs. the Spooky, Scary House, by Stan Kirby, illustrated by George O'Connor, 117 pp, RL 1.5

Captain Awesome vs. the Spooky, Scary House is the eighth book in this super series that debuted early in 2012. With his cry of MI-TEE!, Captain Awesome, a.k.a. eight-year-old second grader Eugene McGillicudy, is the comic book loving, secret super hero star of this super series that, with its larger font and engaging stories, is a perfect bridge for emerging readers ready to move from leveled readers into easy chapter books. I'm not entirely sure if author Stan Kirby's name is a pseudonym - it could be an appropriate combination of the names of comic book icons Stan Lee and Jack Kirby - but illustrator George O'Connor has certifiable comic book credentials as creator of the Olympians, a graphic novel series for middle grade and high school readers that detail the lives of Greek gods and goddesses.

Kirby employs some very basic story lines in his books, most of which revolve around Eugene and his best friend, Charlie Thomas Jones, a.k.a. Nacho Cheese Man (his favorite phrase is, "Cheesy Yo!") seeing danger and the opportunity to thwart evil everywhere they look. From the lunch room chef (Dr. Spinach armed with his Hairnet of Greasiness) to the Frisbee-stealing neighbor dog, Mr. Drools from the Howling Paw Nebula, there is always a mystery to solve or crime to fight. The comic book lingo is pretty heavy, but the balance between real and imaginary is level enough that new readers won't struggle to comprehend the text. In Captain Awesome vs. the Spooky, Scary House, the most awesome day ever - even more awesome than President's Day or a snow day - is around the corner. Dressing up in costumes, running from house to house and collecting as much candy as you can carry combined with Monster Patrol makes Halloween a home run for Eugene and Charlie, who patrol Sunnyview on their bikes after school every day looking for evil to crush. When the boys notice a creepy old house at the end of the block, they decide that it's up to the Sunnyview Super Hero Squad to protect the citizens against whatever evil might be lurking inside. When Meredith Mooney, a.k.a. Little Miss Stinky Pinky, the bossy class bully who wears pink from head to toe and is known for her phrase, "My! Me! Mine! MEREDITH!" overhears the boys talking about the house, she tells them all about the headless ghost living inside the house that her big sister saw the year before. But, someone else overhears and, just as our heroes seem doomed, she jumps from the shadows and fends off the headless ghost, revealing Little Miss Stinky Pinky underneath! From that night on, Supersonic Sal and her sidekick, Funny Cat, become an important part of the Sunnyview Superhero Squad.

There is just enough silliness, illustrations and superhero stuff (Super Dude, world's greatest super hero and star of Eugene's favorite comic book series that he rushes to the mall to get new copies of every month, gets a brief intro in each book so that reader's need not necessarily tackle this series in numerical orders) paired with real life school scenarios to attract even reluctant readers to the Captain Awesome series


The Captain Awesome Series:

Book 10: Captain Awesome and the Missing Elephants due out March 25, 2014 
Book 11: Captain Awesome vs. the Evil Babysitter due out July 15, 2014

Source: Review Copy

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