cover image The Curse of the Bologna Sandwich

The Curse of the Bologna Sandwich

Greg Trine, , illus. by Rhode Montijo. . Holt, $15.95 ( , $15.95 ISBN p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7836-7

In this launch of the appealing Melvin Beederman, Superhero chronicles, Melvin has just graduated from Superhero Academy. He looks spiffy in his red cape and is a whiz at math. Leaping over tall buildings in a single bound, however, and stopping speeding locomotives are not easy for him, and "that whole x-ray vision thing—it brought nothing with it but guilt. Everywhere Melvin looked—underwear." That's an apt reference, since Captain Underpants–esque humor abounds in this fun, flighty caper, presented with a bit of Airplane -like deadpan delivery. Melvin is assigned to L.A., where he begins "catching bad guys right and left," watching TV cartoons and eating junk food between tasks. When he brings his muddy cape to the cleaners, they inadvertently swap it with a cape belonging to Candace Brinkwater, a girl starring in a Little Red Riding Hood play. While Candace soars through the air wearing the superhero's cape, Melvin can't get off the ground (even after 642 attempts). But Melvin fashions a brilliant solution—and saves the day with a bit of assistance. Slyly sprinkled with borrowings from superhero tales ("Holy slow poke!" says capeless Melvin) and packed with kid-pleasing yucks, this copiously and comically illustrated tale is sufficiently full of baloney to fly. The spoof continues in The Revenge of the McNasty Brothers (the title suggests the return of Melvin's nemesis), published simultaneously (0-8050-7929-7; paper 0-8050-7837-1). Ages 7-10. (July)