Superhero Sidekicks & a preteen Gender War

Published August 4, 2013 by Mrs. Malo

I missed the chat for the chat on Wednesday for the July Sharp-Schu Book Club as we had visitors over that evening.  I have read both of the books so I am just going to blog about my thoughts.  A great link about the chat (including a partial transcript) can be found at Watch.Connect.Read.

Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Dan Santat is a fantastic illustrator of many books but this is his first graphic novel.  I will start by confessing that I am not a superhero fan, and never have been.  Saying that I found Sidekicks ad fun and enjoyable read.  My 7 year old daughter Kaitlyn, who lives on a steady diet of princess and fairy books, also very much enjoyed it.  Her review is actually the first post on her own blog .  It is a fantastic book to introduce the graphic novel genera to young readers.  Sidekicks is the story of the pets of Captain America and their mission to become his new sidekicks.  For readers, like Kaitlyn, who may not relate to the typical superhero character, the idea of pets being superheros is fantastic.  My girls have been asking to get a hamster for a pet and when she finished reading Sidekicks Kaitlyn has revised her request to a hamster with super powers.  A great read.

Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee and illustrated by Dan Santat

This is a tale of Bobby, fourth grade, and the intricate relationships between 9 year old boys and girls.  As my own children are not yet at this stage I forgot about the disgust that boys and girls can have for each other at this age.  As a parent I think I may like that stage better than the teenage years.  Bobby and Holly have been best friends since Kindergarten, but at school it is as if they don’t know each other.  I love how Yee has specifically labelled a ‘Parting Place’ to hightlight importance that Bobby and Holly are never seen together by their classmates.  Bobby vs. Girls is a cute story with many different story aspects that readers can connect with: desire for a pet, fitting in with friends, sibling & parent relationships, and the trials of being in 4th grade.  Santat’s illustrations are a perfect addition to Yee’s story.  For younger readers his illustrations will help them make the jump to longer chapter books from picture books.  I am adding this to Kaitlyn’s pile of books to explore.  I had considered doing this as a read-aloud with her but I think for her this would be best enjoyed as an independent read.

I have been looking up a number of Dan Santat’s other books and I think we may just have to do an illustrator study on his work week this year.  From short excerpts I have a feeling my class will love him!

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