The Amazing Adventures of Soupy Boy!

Damon Burnard, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $4.5 (96p) ISBN 978-0-395-91225-6
Lowbrow jokes about a cylinder-shaped ""souperhero"" and an alien chef hungry for a human-burger comprise these two graphic novels. In the first title, contact with ""radioactive cosmic dust"" at a soup factory turns an ordinary baby into a can with arms and legs who can turn himself into Soupy Boy: ""(Gasp!) He can roll downhill quickly! (Gape!) He can see fairly well!"" The unlikely crime-stopper, who changes his label from ""chicken noodle"" to ""leek"" as circumstances dictate, solves the case of a kidnapped children's-book author. The convoluted story is but a vehicle for Burnard's (Pork and Beef's Great Adventure) slapstick humor, which infuses his cartoon panels and third-person narration. For instance, the author mocks choose-your-own-adventure tales by urging readers to skip ahead, then sends them back to make the better choice. Burger! uses a more conventional comic-book format, alternating between scenes of a school cafeteria and life aboard an alien ship. When a space-guy arrives on Earth and begins fattening humans by feeding them free burgers, the only person to suspect the fiendish plot is a vegetarian girl. The small black-and-white cartoons, crudely but effectively drawn, contain ample gross-out fare. Burnard wholeheartedly salutes the dubious taste and ridiculousness of Dav Pilkey's The Adventures of Captain Underpants: expect kid-pleasing humor about extraterrestrial maggots, drooling gluttony and, yes, underwear. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 96 pages - 978-0-440-86365-6
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