Review Blog

Jul 06 2009

The extraordinary adventures of Ordinary Boy series by William Boniface

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Title 1: The Hero Revealed. HarperTrophy, New York, 2007. ISBN 780060774660 Title 2: The Return of Meteor Boy. HarperTrophy, New York, 2009. ISBN 780060774691 Ill. by Stephen Gilpin
(Ages 9-12) These are graphic novels in reverse - action packed adventure stories of 'superheroes' in prose, sprinkled with clever illustrations. However, these are heroes with a difference - they have many and varied creative powers, eg Halogen Boy, whose glowing ability depends on his sipping of apple juice; Plasma Girl, who can transform into a jellylike substance; Stench, notable for clearing the room with his gas, and Tadpole who can stick his tongue out twenty feet. They form the Junior Leaguers from Superopolis, along with Ordinary Boy, who has no powers, except lots of smarts. In the first book, the Junior Leaguers hunt for a missing collector card and become entangled with Professor Brain Drain, who can empty a mind by touching a head with his finger, and his adversaries, the League Of Ultimate Goodness, led by the super superhero Amazing Indestructo. The evil Professor plans to drown Superopolis in collector cards. There are a twists and turns and cliff-hangers aplenty as the Junior Leaguers face one amazing scenario after another. There are shades of the real manipulative world of marketing when Tycoon reveals his plans and students learn the economics of supply and demand via card collecting. They learn that superheroes can have feet of clay and everyone has a contribution to make.
In the second book in the series, Ordinary Boy travels back 25 years to save Superopolis from destruction by a meteor, and learns what happened to the mysterious, vanished superhero, Meteor Boy. Even more wierd and wonderful characters are encountered along the way and there are surprises at every turn.
The readers who enjoyed the Captain Underpants series will enjoy this creative, humourous and entertaining series - there are three so far. If read by, or to, parents the adults and children alike will enjoy the creative powers, as I did, and all will enjoy trying to solve the mysteries. A very 21st century band of Enid Blyton sleuths! If children need to read plenty in order to gain fluency and sophistication to graduate to more demanding books, then this is the stuff to give them at this age. The vocabulary will extend but not frustrate them. A must for all primary school libraries!
Kevyna Gardner

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