cover image The Daily Comet: Boy Saves Earth from Giant Octopus

The Daily Comet: Boy Saves Earth from Giant Octopus

Frank Asch, illus. by Devin Asch, Kids Can, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55453-281-0

This father-and-son team (Mr. Maxwell's Mouse) set their sights on another familial duo: Hayward, a savvy kid with a tabloid-journalist father whose "Go to Work with a Parent Day" is more than he bargained for. Hayward's irritation with his father's flim-flam assignments is only exacerbated by the characters they encounter: a hatching dinosaur, Bigfoot as a cabbie, a giant chicken, and a guy selling an elixir that turns anything made of metal into "a nutritious health drink." Hayward's skepticism turns to fear when a King Kong–sized metallic octopus appears, but he earns a place on the cover of the Daily Comet by defeating it with the potion. "When the smoke cleared, all that remained was an enormous puddle of nutritious green liquid." The dialogue is brisk, and visual quotes from Hollywood abound; Devin Asch's digital illustrations portray Hayward's father as a Gregory Peck look-alike and his photographer sidekick is an Elvis clone; dozens of other retro elements whirl at high speed. Hayward's skepticism is tempered by his experience, and his relationship with his father strengthened; it's a strangely believable tall tale. Ages 5–9. (Sept.)