Saturday, September 5, 2009

Superhero Silliness

On a trip to my local public library this summer, I found a new series (for me, at least) called Melvin Beederman Superhero by Greg Trine. I say it is a new series for me because this book, called The Brotherhood of the Traveling Underpants, is the 7th book in the Melvin Beederman series.

You know those students in your classroom that just love humor?? This is the perfect book for them, starting with the title. The kids may not chuckle for the same reasons I did at this title - how aware are they of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books - but they will love the title because it has the word "underpants" in it. (That word just recently brought gales of laughter in our current read aloud at school: No Talking by Andrew Clements.)

Kids will also find much humor in the fact that Melvin may be the first superhero in history that takes at least 4 - 5 tries to launch himself into the air when he is headed off to save the day. Every time he needs to fly off, Trine has accompanied his take-off attempts with words such as: "Crash!", "Splat!", "Thud!", "Kabonk!" Who wouldn't love a klutzy superhero like that?!!

There's also great good guy / bad guy vocabulary sprinkled in throughout the book:
  • "the jig is up
  • evil lair
  • sidekick (every superhero needs a sidekick -- more on that character later)
  • devious and sinister deeds
  • the brains of the operation
  • they were in a pickle"
You get the idea. Fun words that readers will be amused to read.

Then, we have the bad guys who use play on words all the time:
  • "Be sure to make like a baker and haul buns!
  • Make like a banana and split. (an oldie, but goodie)
  • Make like a golf club and drive."
To set the plot of this book up for you, Melvin and his sidekick Candace, foil the plans of Goofball McCluskey, Max the Wonder Thug, and Calamity Wayne early in the story. Score one for the good guys, and watch the bad guys end up in prison. Goofball, Max, and Calamity spend their time in prison trying to figure out how to get even, or get rid of, Melvin as he continually messes up their bad deeds. When they get out, they seek assistance from Big Al, another bad guy. He sells them a time machine so they can go back in time and get rid of Melvin before he goes to Superhero Academy and acquires his superhero powers.

Silly, right? But put silly together with chuckles, superhero humor, easy to read font, and some great language, and you have a book to which I think kids will gravitate. It would be an especially good series for beginning chapter readers and older readers looking for a book that is just flat-out fun and won't make them struggle as much.

Melvin Beederman Superhero: The Brotherhood of the Traveling Underpants is superhero silliness at its best. The pictures by Rhode Montijo are great, and I look forward to reading the whole series and laughing the entire time!

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