Super Manny Stands Up!
Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Stephanie Graegin. Atheneum, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-5960-0
At home, Manny, a small raccoon with a big imagination, has a wardrobe of superhero capes to match his pretend-play scenarios; wearing a blue cape while looking into the fishbowl, he feels “fearless” and imagines he’s saving the world “from an ocean of unsavory sea creatures.” Manny has a cape for school, too, though it’s invisible to ensure that it remains “top secret undercover.” When a hedgehog is bullied by a hulking pig in the lunchroom, Manny summons the power of all of his capes to say “Stop it”—first quietly, then assertively—and his courage reminds his classmates that they have invisible capes as well. DiPucchio’s (Everyone Loves Cupcake) narration tends toward the literal, but her brevity and directness should make an instant connection with readers. Graegin’s (Little Fox in the Forest) pencil-and-ink pictures seem unassuming and lighthearted (Manny’s make-believe villains include robots who can’t shoot straight with their laser-beam eyes), but when the lunchroom scene unfolds, the images take on surprising and touching drama, creating a powerful moment of truth. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/08/2017