Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Extraordinary Ernie and Marvelous Maud by Frances Watts, illustrated by Judy Watson

I have a new beginning chapter book series from Eerdman's Press to preview today! We are big fans of Tim Kennemore's Alice stories, so I was excited to see another series from the same publisher.

Ernie is a big fan of superheroes, but he's never thought of himself as superhero material. So it's a big surprise when the local superheros tell him he's won a contest to be their apprentice! But the superheroes aren't as cool as Ernie had expected...and his sidekick, Maud the sheep, most certainly isn't what he had hoped for! Are Ernie and Maud superhero material?

Ernie is a realistic and likable character and Maud brings a dash of common sense and humor to a job that's less excited than Ernie had expected. The humor of the superhero society seems like it would appeal more to adults than children; I don't mean it's inappropriate, but more subtle. The conclusion falls a little bit flat - as a reader, I was expecting something more exciting and over-the-top, but perhaps that's the point of the story, that every day is ok too. The illustrations have the same slightly kooky but still realistic feel as the story and are a nice addition.

I'm not as excited over these stories as I was over Alice, but it's a solid beginning for the series. I wouldn't recommend these to kids who are interested in superheroes, as the story will probably fall flat for them. Rather, I'd give it to kids who enjoy realistic fiction and slightly wacky, more subtle humor.

Verdict: No strong opinion either way.

ISBN: 978-0802853639; Published February 2010 by Eerdmans; ARC provided by publisher at ALA

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