Dan Santat ~ Arthur A. Levine, 2011
One of the first books I bought for my son in the graphic novel arena, I originally purchased it for the sole reason that Dan Santat is a super hero. Just look at him for heaven's sake! Smart. Talented. Funny as all get-out. I discovered his work via Gallery Nucleus, an art galley in Los Angeles that specializes in a lot of work by cartoonists, animators and illustrators. I fell in love with a painting of his of a robot trashing a city with his laser powers (that I eventually purchased), and soon after is arrived and took a proud spot of my bedroom wall, I promptly ran out and bought my son Oh No! Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World, illustrated by Santat and penned by another man of awesome, Mac Barnett. All you have to do is look at Dan's art, his incredible marketing savvy, and addictive Instagram to get the idea that he is... like... the coolest guy ever! His books are full of butt-kicking fun. They made you wish that your kids were friends with his kids and you could hang out with him all the time.
But that's neither here nor there... the point is Sidekicks is... how do you say it?... totally BOSS.
Captain Amazing is a middle-aged (?) superhero... exhausted and tired... unable to come home after a long day of saving said day and spend quality time with his pets. The gist of the story is that his pets decide that one of them should stand-in for Captain Amazing's long-gone sidekick and a battle of the critters commences and hilarity ensues.
The USA-clad under-hamster named Fluffy is my fave, though Roscoe, Manny and Shifty are close behind.
As you can see, the artwork is full of cut super hero fun, with lots of great body language, facial expressions and a fab great use of color. (Plus a more than ample bad guy in Wonder Man!)
This is another book we've gifted too many times to count. It's one of my first go-to gifts for boys 1st to 3rd grade. I hate to say it, but I always feel like the gift a graphic novel feels heftier and more like a real present than a novel does. It's probably the amount of color and the fact that the books weigh more, but I never feel like I'm skimping when I wrap one of these up. My son's copy is nearly falling apart at this point, as it's stayed in front rotation for three years now.
It's anthropomorphic fun for all, but now that I'm looking at the pub date, it leaves me wondering... isn't it about time for a Sidekicks 2?