Reviews for Kapow
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2005 Spring
A boy and his friend pretend they're caped crusaders American Eagle and Bug Lady as they catch an escaped panther (actually the family cat) and apprehend the Rubber Bandit (actually the Eagle's brother). Comic book-style images of the ragtag kids contrast with exaggerated superhero action scenes. This too-familiar idea doesn't quite work as a joke, and the story's resolution is weak. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2004 July #1
An imaginative comic-book romp turns a little boy and his friend into superheroes who fight crime and make a little mayhem in the process. Single-panel pages depict the "real world," as the costumed kids (American Eagle and Bug Lady) zoom through the house; their imagined derring-do takes up full-bleed, double-page spreads, the children transformed into their well-muscled hero avatars. Disaster predictably ensues as they take on the Rubber Bandit--the little boy's brother, clad in oversized sweatshirt--and manage to knock over a bookcase ("Ooooh, now you've done it!"). American Eagle displays true heroism as he 'fesses up to his mom, and then all the kids cooperate to set the living room to rights. O'Connor happily uses every comic-book cliché imaginable, from giant graphic sound effects ("KER-RASH") and speech balloons to impossible perspectives, jutting jaws and clenched teeth, and the handy-dandy "meanwhile" box. Kids will love the juxtaposition of the real and imagined worlds, as well as the only slightly exaggerated sibling relationship. The tidy ending is entirely suited to the medium of Truth, Justice, and the American Way. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 July #3
O'Connor debuts with a high-energy comics takeoff in which three children play at being superheroes. The close-up action switches between the costumed children, scrambling around a cramped house, and fantasy battles played out among city buildings. The central figure is American Eagle, a boy in a ball cap decorated with a duckish yellow bill. In his imagination, he becomes a star-spangled hero with an eagle emblem on his chest, pumped-up muscles and enormous fists that strike with a "Kapow!" His crime-fighting partner, Bug Lady, sports thick glasses and a ladybug-spotted backpack, but the imaginative spreads portray her as a sinewy heroine with prismatic fly-eyes and whirring wings. In a fun twist, O'Connor introduces their nemesis, Rubber Bandit, on a wordless spread; he resembles Jack Cole's Plastic Man of the 1940s. But in reality, he is American Eagle's little brother in an oversize shirt. ("Prepare to be snapped, Rubber Bandit!" the hero threatens. "Mom says no hitting!" Rubber Bandit protests.) As the three wrestle, they knock a bookshelf to the floor; the crash summons a towering monster that walks with a "Thoom, thoom, thoom" and casts a demonic purple shadow. It's American Eagle's mother, who bursts in asking, "What happened?!" O'Connor cleverly plays quotidian dialogue against his punchy art. He draws dramatic comics with authority and humor, and he lets everyone in on the jokes. His child characters know they're pretending, but become overzealous when disguised; their enthusiasm is perfectly understandable-and contagious as well. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2004 August
PreS-Gr 2-Over five pages of front matter, a boy playing with blocks is transformed into "American Eagle," shown in full superhero glory on a colorful two-page illustration. From there, alternating spreads switch back and forth between realistic scenes of the boy, his friend, and his little brother-all dressed in superhero costumes-and their imaginary world. When "Bug Lady" asks "American Eagle" for help, the children are shown playing in his house. However, a page turn reveals the larger-than-life duo flying across town as full-grown action stars. Things go too far when the children knock over a bookcase, then hear the ominous "thoom thoom thoom" of Mom's approaching footsteps. In the end, an honest apology and a promise to clean up proves to be a satisfyingly heroic conclusion. Dialogue bubbles work with the cartoon illustrations to add light bits of humor to the action. The youngsters make dramatic statements ("With one mighty blow the wall tumbles like toy blocks"), but also slip out of character ("Mom says no hitting!") just as real kids would. The shifts between real life and fantasy are effective. The regular scenes are neatly framed within single white-bordered pages, while the contrasting superhero pictures fill spreads to their edges with motion and bold color. The result is an appealing splash of adventure, neatly placed within the recognizable world of children's daily lives.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.