Sidekicks

Book Information
Rating: Excellent
Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Dan Santat
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Year: 2011
ISBN: 9780439298193
Pages: 218

Captain Amazing’s four pets set out to become his next sidekick, facing obstacles in the animal and human world to try to discover their own super powers. Captain Amazing has been spending less time at home these days. He’s busy keeping the streets clean but his pets at home miss spending time with him. When he decides he needs a little help, his pets jump at the chance to be the one at his side. Roscoe the dog feels he’s the obvious choice but Fluffy the hamster, and Shifty the lizard, don’t want to be overlooked. Fluffy and Shifty find Manny the cat, Captain Amazing’s last sidekick and estranged pet, and make themselves his new trainees. As all the pets wait to audition, the evil Wonder Man shows up to defeat Captain Amazing. Working as a team, the animals save their hero and discover their own heroic traits. Captain Amazing realizes all that he’s been missing out on, and everyone is happy when he decides it’s time they all work as a team.

This graphic novel is the perfect hero story for elementary readers and even older readers. The panels are easy to follow with clear sequencing. The text is dynamic but manageable for students who may still struggle with chapter books. The book deals with the usual hero themes of danger, transformation, struggle, and fighting without being too dark or scary. The violence is mild and there are no weapons. The illustrations in the novel are full of action. They are detailed without overwhelming the reader. The colors used are vivid but darker and suit the feel of the crime fighting story. The characters are well developed and enjoyable. This graphic novel is an excellent option for reluctant readers who like heroes as it is engaging and action-packed to pull the reader in.