Tuesday, November 25

The Great Powers Outage

The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy, Book 3
by William Boniface
HarperCollins 2008

What happens when you take a juvenile comic book storyline, one that would typically be 32 pages in length, pretend it's a title worthy of "prestige" dimensions of 72 pages, then convert it into a middle grade narrative that lasts for nearly 350 pages?

I don't want to talk about this book, I want to put a call out there to teachers and librarians: how many kids are asking for books about superheroes? How many out there are so vested in this series that they've been anxiously awaiting the third installment? I want a sense of the numbers of reader actively seeking this book out and not just plopped into their hands when they are at their wits end for what to recommend for a boy into superheroes.

I mean, wouldn't it be better to not pretend that this is better than having them read comics? Isn't it an admission of failure in publishing that they feel they have to compete with comics on this level?

Okay, I'll say this much about the book. Having read all three books in the series I could see maybe - maybe - the foundation for a TV cartoon series. But it would be half-hour episodes befitting their storylines and not padded to three-hour long endurance marathons. This series would benefit from some serious rejiggering. Pull these stories down to under a hundred pages and focus on the series readers. Quit clogging the middle grade shelves with pulp just because you can, HarperCollins.
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