cover image Ten Rules of Being a Superhero

Ten Rules of Being a Superhero

Deb Pilutti. Holt/Ottaviano, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9759-7

As a boy plays sidekick to his beloved Captain Magma action figure, he formulates a set of rules that both celebrate the superhero life and justify his own not- always-exemplary behavior, whether it’s littering the living room with toys (“Rule Number 2: Saving the day is messy. But everyone understands”) or escaping a scary bee (“Rule Number 8: A superhero is always brave. Well, almost always”). Pilutti (The Twelve Days of Christmas in Michigan) has a terrific sense of space, but what’s most refreshing is how she defines her characters and their relationship. Instead of opting for braggadocio and mock high drama, Pilutti’s duo’s self-awareness and low-stakes theatrics have an offhanded, almost improvisational vibe. Accused of being afraid of the bee, Lava Boy, hiding his head under his cape, is quick to point out, “I’m not, but Captain Magma is.” And after Lava Boy extols Captain Magma’s superpowers (“He is really strong, has lava vision, and a friendly personality”), Captain Magma thinks, “It’s true, but I do wish I could fly.” Ages 4–7. Agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Oct.)