In this launch of the appealing Melvin Beederman, Superhero chronicles, Melvin has just graduated from Superhero Academy. He looks spiffy in his red cape and is a whiz at math. Leaping over tall buildings in a single bound, however, and stopping speeding locomotives are not easy for him, and "that whole x-ray vision thingâ€"it brought nothing with it but guilt. Everywhere Melvin lookedâ€"underwear." That's an apt reference, since Captain Underpants esque humor abounds in this fun, flighty caper, presented with a bit of Airplane -like deadpan delivery. Melvin is assigned to L.A., where he begins "catching bad guys right and left," watching TV cartoons and eating junk food between tasks. When he brings his muddy cape to the cleaners, they inadvertently swap it with a cape belonging to Candace Brinkwater, a girl starring in a Little Red Riding Hood play. While Candace soars through the air wearing the superhero's cape, Melvin can't get off the ground (even after 642 attempts). But Melvin fashions a brilliant solutionâ€"and saves the day with a bit of assistance. Slyly sprinkled with borrowings from superhero tales ("Holy slow poke!" says capeless Melvin) and packed with kid-pleasing yucks, this copiously and comically illustrated tale is sufficiently full of baloney to fly. The spoof continues in The Revenge of the McNasty Brothers (the title suggests the return of Melvin's nemesis), published simultaneously (0-8050-7929-7; paper 0-8050-7837-1). Ages 7-10. (July)[Page 75]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 2-4 -Melvin Beederman, graduate of the Superhero Academy, is sent by Headmaster Spinner to Los Angeles, a city in desperate need of a superhero. Although not perfect (he usually needs five or six tries to leap tall buildings and his X-ray vision causes him to see everyone's underwear), Melvin is a force to be reckoned with. In Curse , he meets Candace Brinkwater when the cleaners accidentally send his superhero cape home with her. They agree to work together to take on the evil (and odoriferous) McNasty brothers. When the villains attempt to sap his strength with bologna (Melvin's weakness), the superhero overcomes them, and, in an action-packed chase, stops a speeding train (with a little help from Candace) and takes them to the police. In Revenge , the superheroes once again foil the McNasty family when the siblings break out of jail. When Melvin and Candace are imprisoned in a warehouse with 6000 pounds of bologna, all seems lost. In the end, however, they are able to think their way out of the dilemma and, once again, defeat the McNastys. The black-and-white cartoons lend action and humor to the already rollicking text. Trine and Montijo have given readers an appealing superhero and his trusty assistant. These delightfully entertaining adventure stories are a must-have for most libraries.-Rebecca Sheridan, Easttown Library & Information Center, Berwyn, PA[Page 106]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.