Reviews for Superhero Joe

Booklist Reviews 2011 September #2
Weitzman, ably assisted by Barrett, of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1978) fame, takes on both imagination and bravery in this warmhearted comic-book-style offering. It starts as all good superhero tales do, with someone shouting "HELP!" Joe scrambles into the kitchen to find that Dad has been attacked by "an evil black ooze" (engine oil), and Mom needs "the staff of power" (the mop) to rescue him. The problem: the mop's in the monster-filled cellar. The solution: Superhero Joe! In an aside, Joe explains that he used to be scared of everything. But, taking a page from comic books, he found that clothes make the man, in this case his Cape of Confidence (a bath towel), Shield of Invincibility (trash-can lid), and Torch of Radiance (flashlight). Weitzman keeps things hurtling forward, while Barrett's digitally created panels supply the primary colors and constant motion, most enjoyably when everyday objects (shirts in a dark closet, for example) take on monstrous qualities. Perfect for junior crusaders everywhere. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Because his parents need his help, Joe--with his "Torch of Radiance" (flashlight), "Shield of Invincibility" (trash-can lid), and "Cape of Confidence" (bath towel)--overcomes his fear of the "Darkest Depths" (basement) to retrieve the "Staff of Power" (mop). The text is a little self-aware, but the setup is entertaining. Menacing furniture and clothing populate the shadowy corners of the comic book style illustrations.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 July #4

Joe "used to be scared of everything." At night, his bedroom closet seems to overflow with menacing items, including ravenous-looking gym shoes and a cobralike belt. But then he realizes that clothes could make the man and creates a superhero outfit to give himself courage. Attired in a "Cape of Confidence" (a bath towel), a "Torch of Radiance" (a flashlight), a bike helmet, and other accoutrements of invincibility, even the spooky basement doesn't faze him--he retrieves a mop for his mother and saves the kitchen floor from motor oil peril. Barrett's (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) terrific pictures, with their crisp outlines, yellow-orange hues, dramatic lighting, and cross-hatching, hearken back to the comic book art of the 1950s; Joe goes from a 67-lb. weakling to a dynamo capable of wide-legged poses worthy of any action figure. Unfortunately, Weitzman's (You Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum) self-esteem message is a bit heavy-handed ("Now I know the light switch to the basement is just at the bottom of the stairs"), and Joe's imaginative conceit gets neutralized in the book's final pages. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 August

K-Gr 2--When Joe's parents call for help, he is ready. The boy confides that he used to be scared of everything but not any more. Inspired by his comic-book heroes, he has devised superhero gear (Cape of Confidence, Helmet of Invisibility, Power Gloves, and Super Gravity-Defying Boots) to cope with the frightening situations in his life. Wearing his protective gear, he uses the Torch of Radiance to light the way into the basement, locate the sponge mop for his mom, and save the day. On a more realistic level, Joe tackles his fears by knowing the location of the light switch to the basement, where the caring grown-ups are when he needs them, and that his closet is relatively monster-free. Barrett's line drawings are rendered in ink and colored digitally. The crisp text is hand lettered. The graphic-novel format and retro atmosphere mimic the comic books whose heroes Joe emulates. Weitzman acknowledges the boy's feelings and provides imaginative solutions followed by more practical ones. An upbeat, humorous selection.--Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN

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