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Reviewed by:
  • Kid Normal by Greg James
  • Elizabeth Bush
James, Greg Kid Normal; by Greg James and Chris Smith; illus. by Erica Salcedo. Bloomsbury, 2018 [384p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-68119-709-8 $13.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-68119-953-5 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4–6

Murph’s problem started, as problems often do, with a simple misunderstanding. His mother, desperate to find Murph a school in their new town, tells the headmaster of a nearby school (labeled cryptically “The School”) she is confident he can help her son “fly.” Headmaster Mr. Souperman takes this literally, and since he’s in the business of developing kids’ superheroic Capabilities, or Capes, at his secretive establishment, he promptly enrolls Murph. Murph’s Capelessness quickly becomes evident and he’s the butt of classmate jokes and scorned as “Kid Normal,” but he wrangles a few other underclassman friends with undistinguished Capes and finds himself having a pretty decent time. However, a local lab undergoes a change in management and it soon becomes the site for nefarious development of wasp drones and mind-control helmets. When a drone spy buzzes onto campus and reveals to the villains a mother lode of superpowered talent just waiting to be mined, it will take every Cape and Kid Normal’s good sense to defeat the enemy and save the world. The trope of a school for superheroes is rife in kid lit, but this British import offers an affectionate sendup, replete with goofy line drawings, inventively silly Capes, satirical insets, and regularly shattered fourth walls. The narrative moves swiftly despite the hefty page count, making this a great choice for chunking into family or classroom readalouds. [End Page 431]



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