cover image Captain Pajamas: Defender of the Universe

Captain Pajamas: Defender of the Universe

Bruce Whatley, Rosie Smith. HarperCollins, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-026613-4

A glance at the title and the comic-book lettering on the jacket will almost inevitably recall Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants books; moreover, like that series' heroes, Whatley and Smith's (Whatley's Quest) protagonist is obsessed with alien invaders. Told in comic-book format, the story is narrated by Brian, a superhero wannabe who hears strange sounds late one night and is convinced that aliens are afoot. He dons a red cape and matching eye mask, plus his ""utility belt,"" then wakes up his older sister, Jessie (""I, Captain Pajamas, Defender of the Universe, have come to save you!"" he tells her). They tiptoe through the house and find what appear to be logical causes for the various noises. Jessie grows increasingly irritated and finally orders the still-suspicious Brian back to bed. Predictably (at least for presiding adults), the story ends with a view of a three-eyed green creature happily munching pizza in Jessie's bed. The text is dryly humorous (""Even we Defenders of the Universe have to be patient sometimes""), and there are numerous clever visual images, including the ""Captain Pajama Remote-Control, Techno-Robotic Alien Communicator"" (made from a box of cornflakes, a broom, a xylophone, etc.). An amusing outing. Ages 3-8. (May)