cover image The Superheroes Employment Agency

The Superheroes Employment Agency

Marilyn Singer, illus. by Noah Z. Jones. Clarion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-547-43559-6

B-list superheroes try to rustle up work in this collection of poems that, unfortunately, isn’t as entertaining as its premise suggests. Readers first hear from disaster-prone Blunder Woman, who “began this agency/ for superheroes just like me:/ outclassed, outranked, unsung,/ standing on the second rung.” Other heroes (several of whom make repeat appearances throughout) include Weathergirl, who literally creates tempests in teapots; the Verminator, an inch-high eradicator of rodents and other pests; and the Bulk, a sentimental giant who drowns villains in his tears. Though the concept has potential, Singer’s (A Stick Is an Excellent Thing) heroes and their accompanying poems come across as flat: “I’m the Bulk. Oh, yes, indeed./ I’m so fond of darling creatures I can cuddle./ I’m the Bulk. Foul friends, take heed/ or you’ll wind up floating in a giant puddle.” Jones (Stuff) delivers comedy with a surer hand, keeping things interesting with a mix of comics-style panels and faux advertisements, but it isn’t enough to enliven this outing. Ages 6–9. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, McIntosh & Otis. (July)