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Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 2–An alphabets worth of superheroes, from Astro-Man to the Zinger. Theres strong appeal here for the youngest comic-book fans, with many doses of humor along the way. Each figure has special powers, of course, which readers learn about through alliterative captions and action-packed illustrations. Danger Man, for instance Does Daring Deeds Every Day. A spread shows how He Duels with Dragons against a futuristic landscape filled with bright greens, reds, and pinks. The added information that He Doesnt Have a Dog! contributes to the lighthearted tone while extending the alliteration, which effectively emphasizes letter sounds. Many of the characters possess traditionally heroic powers, like Ms. Incredibles ability to become Invisible In an Instant. Others are sillier, such Laughing Lass and Upside Down Man (who wears his Uniform Under His Underwear), while the Odor Officer and the Volcano (he Vomits on Villains) add just the right touch of grossness. There are several females in the bunch, along with one child (Sky-Boy), one animal (Power Pup), and two teens (The Tiny Teen and Tony Terrific, who are Twins). The cartoon illustrations show the figures in action with bold colors, word balloons, and block letters in an attractive comic-book style. Imaginative readers might be inspired to imagine their own alphabetical creations to add to the ranks of Goo Girl, Huge Man, and Multiplying Mike.–Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
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*Starred Review* K-Gr. 3. In this ABC book turbocharged with fun for both new and capable readers, McLeod lines up a roster of superheroes kids won't find in existing cartoons or comic book: Astro-Man, "Always Alert for an Alien Attack" despite his asthma; Goo Girl, whose weapon of choice is Great Gobs of Goo; and Odor Officer, monitor of playground farts. McLeod, who has decades of experience drawing for major comics from Marvel and others, has chosen a theme that is well suited to the ABC format, as each entry's alliterative annotation seems entirely in keeping with the genre's usual predilection for stylized, faintly hokey text. Also borrowed straight from comics are the onomatopoeic outbursts ("GAA!" "QUUF!") and the skintight (though never overtly revealing) leotards worn by guys and gals alike. McLeod's adherence to such conventions is precisely what will draw comic-book fans, who will pore over the slick, dynamic compositions on oversize pages, and will savor the occasional, sly references to familiar characters. This book's superpower? It will dazzle reluctant readers and disappear right off the shelves. For occasions when demand exceeds availability, pull out Jeff Weigel's Atomic Ace (He's Just My Dad) (2004), also by a comics veteran. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.