Posted in Uncategorized

MAD Magazine gives Superman a Miserable, Rotten, No Fun, Really Bad Day

Superman and the Miserable, Rotten, no Fun, Really Bad Day, by Dave Croatto/Illustrated by Tom Richmond, (Oct. 2017, Mad Magazine), $14.99, ISBN: 9781401276119

Recommended for readers 5+

MAD Magazine, I love you. I grew up laughing at your Star Wars parodies, your Spy vs. Spy comics, and  host of jokes I probably didn’t get until I was older. And now, you bring me a series of superhero parodies based on childhood classics. You get me. You really, really get me.

The fun began with last year’s Goodnight, Batcave: narrated in the gentle bedtime style of Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight, Moon, we peeked into Batman’s bedtime routine. Now, we get Superman having the lousiest day ever in the style of Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and it is hilarious. Whether he’s listening to kids argue over who the better hero is – Batman or The Flash – or being relegated to monitor duty by the Justice League, Superman has the same petulant, endearing voice that makes Alexander such a fun storytime read. Supes tends to get dinged a lot by Batfans (cough, cough) that  call him a boy scout, and seeing that reflected here is just perfect. Lois and Jimmy Olsen get sent on super cool assignments, while Clark goes to a flower show. Where Alexander is ready to move to Australia, Supes is ready to abandon it all for the Fortress of Solitude. But as with all the best bedtime stories, Ma is there to tell him that some days are like that, and sends him off to bed – and hopefully, a better day the next day.

Tom Richmond’s classic MAD-style artwork meets Ray Cruz – the illustrator on Judith Viorst’s Alexander books – gives an instantly recognizable feel to the story – even the cover is a perfect sendup of the original. This is absolutely perfect for a Superhero Storytime, or just a really fun laugh-along. Read it in the same pouty voice that you use for Alexander, and make sure to be extra offended by the Batman-is-Better inferences.

What’s next? Make Way for Lanterns? Where the Amazons Are? I NEED MORE.

Posted in Fiction, Tween Reads

Catwoman’s Nine Lives is great fun for intermediate readers!

batmanCatwoman’s Nine Lives, by Matthew K. Manning (Capstone, August 2014). $5.95, ISBN: 9781434291363

Recommended for ages 7-12

Catwoman’s at it again. After giving Batman the slip during a chase, she comes home to find Penguin waiting for her, with a proposal – steal the Ventriloquist’s Dummy, Scarface. It will render him helpless and eliminate the competition he poses to Penguin. Never able to turn down the chance for a good score, Catwoman accepts, and touches off a war! The Ventriloquist wants revenge against Penguin, and Penguin has no intention of backing down. Will Catwoman turn to Batman for help, or will she allow a bloody crime war to rage unchecked?

This book is a fun read; a great combination of chapter book and graphic novel, it will hold readers’ interests with the fast-paced action and Luciano Vecchio’s intense art. Vecchio is well-versed in DC artwork, handling art duties on Beware the Batman, Young Justice, and the Green Lantern Animated Series. Matthew K. Manning, the Bat-scribe here, is a well-known comic writer whose work I really like; here, he doesn’t talk down or over his audience. He’s right where the kids need him to be, and, with Vecchio, creates a fun adventure.

Enhanced content, including comics terms and a glossary of words used in the story, and discussion questions, means this book will be one of the hottest book on the shelves at school libraries. The book can easily be applied to Common Core lessons, including discussions of sequences of events for younger readers and ambiguous morality for more intermediate audiences.

Capstone’s Capstone Kids website is a great resource, with activities and character bios for all their properties, including sections on the DC Superheroes and Super Pets.

The book will be published on August 1, but in the meantime, there are more Capstone DC titles – hit your libraries and bookstores to find some! They’re a great way to ease kids into summer reading!