172. The Kid Who Saved Superman

The Kid Who Saved Superman by Paul Kupperberg
Illustrated by Min Sung Ku and Lee Loughridge

Pages: 51
Ages: 8-12; RL: 4.3
Finished: Sep.23, 2009
First Published: Aug. 2009
Genre: children, action-adventure
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Hakeem Bennett carefully climbed up the highest peak of the Adirondack Mountains.

Reason for Reading: My son is a superhero freak, and don't tell anyone, but I am too. I read this short chapter book aloud to him. We received a review copy from the publisher, Stone Arch Books.

Comments: Hakeem's class is going cave exploring; when he takes a few steps off by himself he unknowingly goes further than he thought and gets separated from his class. There is an earthquake and he becomes stuck in the cave but no need to worry because Superman is nearby. Superman can see him with his X-ray vision but there is another tremor and Hakeem falls to another level and lands next to a piece of kryptonite. How will Superman help him now?

I'll admit it, I didn't exactly expect this to be great literature but I was put in my place by the quality of the writing. A very well-written, exciting, short chapter book with artwork by original DC illustrators that will have any Superman fan reading under the covers with a flashlight. Each chapter ends on an exciting note just begging for the next chapter to be read. The story steers clear of pushing any lesson on the reader but it does have a focus on the boy's science knowledge, geology in particular, which leads to him being able to save the day. Thus, indirectly, stressing the importance of having an education. One fun thing during the reading is that all the sound effects have been drawn in large coloured comic-book style lettering within the text, giving the story an extra comic book feel, even though it is a chapter book.

At the end of the book, the reader is introduced to an interesting story behind this book about a real life Hakeem Bennett who won a national writing contest where the topic was to write about a real hero at their school. The prize? To be named the kid who saved Superman in this book! after which follows his winning entry. This is very inspiring and caused a discussion about the differences between lotteries where you only 'put your name in' and contests where you have to do something and be chosen a winner. Here is real life proof that if you work hard you can win! The 9yo was quite impressed that such a possibility existed.

The book was a lot of fun and has quality in writing, plot and illustrations. The 9yo was thrilled with the story and I'll admit mum thought it was great too! This is part of a series called Super DC Heroes which contains quite a lot of books to date; they feature either Superman or Batman and Robin. These would be perfect for reluctant readers!

PS - Today is the last day to enter my contest for The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan! There's still time to get your name in! Then stay tuned for a new contest on Saturday!


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