cover image Kid Normal

Kid Normal

Greg James and Chris Smith, illus. by Erica Salcedo. Bloomsbury, $13.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-68119-709-8

In this tongue-in-cheek middle grade adventure, a kid without superpowers nevertheless discovers his true calling when he’s accidentally enrolled in a secret school for superhumans. Eleven-year-old Murph Cooper doesn’t have high hopes for the school, his fifth one in as many years thanks to his mother’s many work-related moves. It doesn’t help when he’s the only normal human in a place where people can fly, control weather, move at super-speed, and summon tiny horses (not every power, or Capability—“Cape” for short—is a winner). Murph unexpectedly makes friends with some of the school’s other misfits, which comes in handy when a bizarre villain attacks the school and captures everyone else. Now only Murph and his friends can save the day. This lighthearted caper from BBC radio stars James and Smith is packed with dry wit, snarky narrative asides, and an unabashed eschewing of subtlety (the school’s headmaster, a former superhero, is Mr. Souperman). Salcedo’s playfully frenetic illustrations complement James and Smith’s silly adventure and its good-natured sense of wonder. Ages 8–12. (June)