Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Sidekicks coverHe may be Captain Amazing to the rest of Metro City, but at home he’s Harry, best master ever. Or at least, he would be if he had more time to spend with his adoring pets, Roscoe the dog (who has a super power of his own), Fluffy the hamster, and newcomer Shifty the chameleon. When his peanut allergy puts the aging Captain Amazing out of commission for a few weeks, he announces that he’s decided to recruit and train a new sidekick. And though he’s determined not to select another pet for the job — the last time didn’t end well — Roscoe is equally certain that he can secretly win the role and gain first claim to Harry’s time and attention.

Fluffy does not have a super power, but he’s pretty sure he can fight crime anyway. Shifty volunteers himself as sidekick — after all, families look out for one another — and together the two manage to get themselves into trouble almost immediately. Manny, formerly sidekick to Captain Amazing and currently cat-on-the-street, rescues the pair and takes on the responsibility of training them in their chosen trade.

When a new superhero in town proves an unexpected threat, all four animals have a chance to show their master, and their city, just what they can do.

Santat’s Sidekicks is a winner from start to finish. With solid storytelling, some great behind-the-scenes common sense — I loved Manny’s reasoning behind pulling the fire alarm — and lots of humour, Santat turns superhero conventions to fresh and entertaining ends. The artwork is a big part of the appeal, of course. Shifty is my favourite, but all of the characters are well-executed and full of personality. Recommended for fans of humour and quirky superhero stories.

Read other reviews from School Library Journal and Stacked.

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