Eric Vale Super Male by Michael Gerard Bauer

cover image

Omnibus, 2013. ISBN: 9781862919938/
Recommended for ages 8+. Eric Vale, would be author of the Totally Awesome Action Adventures of Secret Agent Derek 'Danger' Dale, is less than inspired by his teacher's latest idea for a new study unit, 'Stupid Pharaohs'! When he finally realises that the unit title is, in fact, 'Superheroes', his attitude changes dramatically and he believes he will impress the class with his knowledge, enthusiasm and amazing characters. Only his classmate, Meredith Murdoch, seems to be unhappy and dismissive of the teacher's grand idea. Still trying to shed his previous nickname, Epic Fail, nothing goes quite according to plan for Eric. His little sister Katie tries to 'help', as does his friend William 'Choo-Choo' Rodriguez, AKA Chewy. Buoyed by the ideas quoted by his motivational speaker parents, Chewy dreams up the character Mr Self-Belief. Eric can only imagine the social suicide awaiting Chewy if he continues with his plans but believes the Nuclear Ninjarator will provide the turning point in his own life. Meanwhile, he tries to placate Katie who seems hell bent on sending him to school with her favourite toy, Woopsie Bear, something he knows will never happen. Will his fortunes change and will he finally manage to impress his class mates?
Despite initially having judged the book by its cover and felt it was one I wouldn't enjoy, Eric Vale managed to live up to my previous expectations of what I'd have expected of Michael Gerard Bauer . . . it is filled with humour, a multitude of illustrations and child appeal yet still contains a message. Again illustrated by the author's son, Joe, the layout is one which will engage even the reluctant reader. With large and varied fonts, double spaced text and having so many comic style illustrations, this comes close to the graphic novel format and is especially easy to read. With such themes as family, school, fitting in/standing out, bravery and resilience and the obvious Superheroes, this should appeal to both male and female readers in early primary through to the reluctant readers in upper primary school. For a great article on the father/son team, have a look at the following link:
Jo Schenkel