Monday, November 17, 2014

The Day I Lost My Superpowers

Horn Book (July/August, 2014)
A masked superhero (in black cape, red pajamas, and pigtails) lays out the facts about her extraordinary abilities. "The day I discovered I could fly, I knew that I was special." As in this author/illustrator team's The Brief Thief (rev. 7/13), the text plays it straight while the illustrations slyly show what's really happening. After lots of practice, she does the slide and into the sandbox. She can make things disappear (a cupcake: "poof!"), but "sadly, it doesn't always work" (peas are her kryptonite). Where our hero says she likes "going through walls," the accompanying picture shows her sock-puppet-adorned arm sticking out through a hole in the wall, a hammer on the floor. She also likes "becoming invisible" -- i.e., hiding under her bed when Mom discovers the damage caused by her heroic hijinks. The oversize pages feature dynamic compositions in muted shades of brown, red, and teal on lots of white space, with the protagonist and her shenanigans front and center. Both art and text respectfully stay true to a child's complete immersion in pretend play. When the narrator's powers unexpectedly fail her and she hurts her knee (an ill-conceived flying apparatus is involved), it's Mom's magic kiss to the rescue: "I think my mom has superpowers too!" It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a message that will fly with kids and parents alike. kitty flynn

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