Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Review: Pizazz by Sophy Henn

I have something 'super' special for today's review, and I don't only mean that this one is about superheroes and a superheroine. It steers toward the younger end of the middle grade audience...although even I found it entertaining. The young heroine in this one reminded me of a few girls I've known, and maybe, that's what made it endearing...although none of them had superpowers. Plus, it packs tons of illustrations, and I'm a huge fan of illustrations.

Ready to blast off and save the world? 

by Sophy Henn
Middle Grade Humor 
208 pages
ages 7 to 10

Discover the annoying side of being a superhero from snarky, reluctant hero Pizazz in this hilarious and highly illustrated new series for young middle graders—perfect for fans of Dog Man and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Most people think superhero work is awesome and fulfilling. Pizazz knows better. Whenever she’s in the middle of a movie or having fun with her friends, she has to dash off the save the world. And she’s always in the same outfit, including an embarrassing glittery cape, and the wedgies are unreal. Plus, being the good guy all the time is so not easy. Superheroes have bad days like everybody else, but Pizazz always has to be cheerful and noble and brave. More than anything, she just wants to be normal.

GOODREADS   /    KOBO    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY    /     AMAZON    /    B&N

                                        * tons of illustrations
                                        * great for even more reluctant readers
                                        * first in a series
                                        * snarky but nothing over the top
                                        * sibling/family relations w/ attitude but still love


Mix pre-teen attitude, learning to like one's self, and usual family 'ups and downs' with superhero awesomeness (or not always so awesome?), and it rolls into tons of humor with a bit of more serious undertones.

Pizazz is a superhero and was born, like many superheroes, into a superhero family. Yep, she has superpowers, which should make everything kind of awesome...well, in compared to 'normals' that is. But not everything is bombastic pows and victories in the life of a superhero, especially when that hero is about to attend a new school and already knows she won't fit in.

The blurb on this one hooked me in right away. The idea of a pre-teen superhero, who battles not only with super villains but with usual, middle grade problems sounded golden. And it is. This book packs tons of attitude (the eye-roll kind) with the problem of learning to like one's self. It's over the top...but it is about superheroes...and while addressing all sorts of humorous problems that being a superhero might mean, also allows the very usual problems of being a middle grader to flow in. It's a silly mix, which causes thought and yet, has the reader snorting, wondering, and raising the eyebrows the entire way through.

Pizazz's sour somewhat attitude is pretty clear, and while it might almost hit the point of being overbearing at times and hangs right on the border, the ridiculous situation makes it work. Plus, her strife to make the best out of things is heart-warming. Her embarrassment at her the point she refuses to mention what it is and only repeatedly says it's embarrassing...also pushes to the point of being overly extreme, and then, at that moment, she lets it come out. And it is something that girls that age might really find embarrassing. (I know a few). And yet, in its own way, it's neat. But this plays wonderfully on the same tone as self-doubt, since what many kids see as horrible, may not really be that bad after all.

The illustrations make this one shine and give it a comic book atmosphere without turning it into a graphic novel. Plus, there are tons of superheroes...who always run around in the same outfit (although they have many of them to keep it from becoming gross). And there's a funny dog...and irritating but a sometimes, cool sister...and bad guys with the weirdest ways to take over the world...and irritating, popular girls...and even some environmental issues are thrown in because saving the Earth as a superhero obviously isn't enough (is it?). So, this one packs the pages well, guaranteeing a quick-paced, never boring read.

I definitely do see young middle graders grabbing this one up and enjoying it quite a bit.

And here she is...

Sophy Henn is an award-winning picture book author and illustrator with a master’s in illustration from the University of Brighton. She is the creator of the much-loved Bad Nana series, the Pom Pom series, the Ted board book series, and the nonfiction titles Lifesize and Lifesize Dinosaurs, among others. Her debut picture book Where Bear? was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. Sophy was the World Book Day Illustrator in 2015 and 2016.

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