As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)


From the Captain Awesome series , Vol. 1

The town of Sunnyview got a little bit safer when 8-year-old Eugene McGillicudy moved in.

Just like his comic-book mentor, Super Dude, Eugene, aka Captain Awesome, is on a one-man mission is to save the world from supervillains, like the nefarious “Queen Stinkypants from Planet Baby.” Just as Eugene suspected, plenty of new supervillains await him at Sunnyview Elementary. Are Meredith Mooney and the mind-reading Ms. Beasley secretly working together to try and force Eugene to reveal his secret identity? Will Principal Brick Foot succeed in throwing Captain Awesome into the “Dungeon of Detention?” Fortunately, Eugene isn’t forced to go it alone. Charlie Thomas Jones, fellow comic-book lover and Super Dude fan, stands ready and willing to help. When the class hamster goes missing, Captain Awesome must don his cape and, with the help of his new best friend, ride to the rescue. Kirby’s funny and engaging third-person narration and O’Connor’s hilarious illustrations make the book easily accessible and enormously appealing, particularly to readers who have recently graduated to chapter books. But it is the quirky, mischievous Eugene that really makes this book special. His energy and humor are contagious, and his dogged commitment to his superhero alter ego is enough to make anyone a believer.  

As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is “MI-TEE!” (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4090-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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A strong series start.


From the Press Start! series , Vol. 1

In a video game, a superpowered rabbit must rescue a singing dog that brings everyone happiness.

In the frame story, a brown-skinned human protagonist plays a video game on a handheld console evocative of the classic Nintendo Gameboy. The bulk of the book relates the game’s storyline: Animal Town is a peaceful place where everyone is delighted by Singing Dog, until the fun-hating King Viking (whose black-mustachioed, pink-skinned looks reference the Super Mario Brothers game series villain, Wario) uses his army of robots to abduct Singing Dog. To save Singing Dog—and fun—the animals send the fastest among them, Simon the Hedgehog, to get Super Rabbit Boy (who gains speed and jumping powers by eating special carrots) to save the day. The chapters take Super Rabbit Boy through video game levels, with classic, video game–style settings and enemies. Throughout the book, when the game’s player loses either a life in the game or the game entirely, the unnamed kid must choose to persevere and not give up. The storylines are differentiated by colorful art styles—cartoonish for the real world, 8-bit pixel-sprite–style for the game. The fast, repetitive plot uses basic, simple sentences and child-friendly objects of interest, such as lakes of lava, for children working on reading independence, while the nerdy in-jokes benefit adults reading with a child.

A strong series start. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03472-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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Transitioning readers will feel accomplished and will surely look for future volumes to see what happens in Mia’s new life.


From the Mia Mayhem series , Vol. 1

In this first volume of a new chapter-book series, a little girl named Mia discovers she’s a superhero.

Mia Macarooney is “a total disaster machine.” Everywhere she goes, chaos and mayhem follow (literally, in the case of Chaos—that’s the name of her cat). Except now she’s received an unusual letter, inviting her to the Program for In Training Superheroes, and she is totally bowled over. It turns out her accidents are often results of her superpowers, which she will learn to hone in her after-school hours at the PITS. As if that weren’t enough of a shock, Mia’s parents deliver the thrilling news that they are superheroes too! Her father is fluent in animal speech, and her mother can fly. Everything moves quickly at the PITS. Mia embarrasses herself in front of everyone during the entrance exam but ends up feeling supported and ready to learn…in the next volume. Freckled, brown-skinned, curly-fro–sporting Mia is an adorable protagonist. An overuse of exclamation points keeps the adrenaline running without a steady stream of exciting events—or even a climax and resolution—but with the large, bold type and the cute illustrations full of personality, emerging readers will be happy to read this book independently. What’s more exciting than that?

Transitioning readers will feel accomplished and will surely look for future volumes to see what happens in Mia’s new life. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3270-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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