cover image Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show

Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show

Michael Buckley, illus. by Dan Santat. Abrams, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0379-9

Buckley shifts gears from his Sisters Grimm and N.E.R.D.S. middle-grade series, making his picture book debut with a story about a "boy without fear" (who looks to be inspired by an actual boy, if the dedication is any indication). "What you've never heard of me?" Kel asks, starring quizzically at readers. "Then you've never heard about the time I put my life at risk eating... broccoli." Santat (Oh No! Not Again!) once again shows off his talent for creating cinematic and comedic artwork that's heightened by outside-the-box perspectives and conceits; here, he uses a Camcorder display to recap Kel's past stunts, as though captured in home videos (although a shot from inside the "Potty of Doom" raises the question of what the family's video camera is doing in there). The mock heroic tone of both Buckley's writing and Santat's digital art is quite funny, but by the fourth or fifth time Kel's family reacts to his "stunts" with horrified shouts of "Someone stop him!" and "Is it bravery or foolishness?!" the joke starts to wear thin. Ages 4%E2%80%937. Agent: Alison Fargis, Stonesong. Illustrator's agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Sept.)