Here Come the Superheroes by Neal Zetter and Chris White
|Here Come the Superheroes by Neal Zetter and Chris White|
|Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Not the most beautiful book ever, but this collection of quick and bouncy raps will appeal to the young fan of both poetry and superheroes.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 64||Date: June 2017|
|Publisher: Troika Books|
|External links: Author's website|
I'm quite sure you're well aware of the spate of superhero movies doing the rounds these days, with any and every star of the comics page seemingly on the big screen – and the small. They're everywhere, and their numbers are only growing. But here is a unique chance to meet a few more – Mega Slug, Micro Girl, Magnetic Me, Sister Speed – even one calling himself the Ultimate Superhero. But we're not meeting them in a well-established comic universe, or with some horrid and convoluted back story. No, we're being introduced to them all in the format of verse – and for the young superhero and/or poetry fan this clearly has an instant appeal.
That's not to say the visuals will have much appeal for the adult audience checking this out before handing down to a child, for the cartoonish illustrations really are garish, broadly inked and brashly coloured. But I have to applaud this book regardless, for in presenting a varied selection of poems in the format of a full-colour superhero comic (complete with trivia factoids as asides and databanks for all the new superheroes) it really can latch on to the coat-tails of the real superheroes the target audience already know and love, and get them reading some real verse at the same time.
Yes, a couple of the poems are a bit weak, but they never outstay their welcome – they all fit on one side, and everything comes with the full-colour illustration relevant to the topic. And not all the subjects are new characters – you get a look at the onomatopoeia of the superhero world, you read the lament of the supervillain who only wants renown and recognition – and you also get a glimpse into the future, when superheroes don't have any public phone boxes in which to change clothes any more…
I also liked the whimsical verse of the man dating the Invisible Lady – yes, while a lot of these characters are clearly thinly disguised versions of the 'real' thing, enough is made to make these verses about them interesting and diverse. They all come in a bouncy meter, with an easily-heard rhyming scheme. They can be read very comfortably and quickly as a rap – some even have a slight call-and-response element – and clearly prove the author's standing as a schools-based performance poet. I don't think the book is superlative, but it certainly isn't stuffy, never looks dry, and does do what it aims to do – provides for a kinetic, visual poetry book that connects to a never-ending aspect of modern culture, meaning this has a great deal about it to appeal to the young.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
There is also a rhyme here to make the reader's mother a superhero – The Dictionary of Dads: Poems by Justin Coe and Steve Wells suggests the father can be too, as well as host of other things.
You can read more book reviews or buy Here Come the Superheroes by Neal Zetter and Chris White at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Here Come the Superheroes by Neal Zetter and Chris White at Amazon.com.
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