Sunday, February 19, 2012


Santat, Dan. 2011. SIDEKICKS. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439298193 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-6]

When Captain Amazing (aka Harry) starts feeling his age, he finally admits the truth: he needs a new SIDEKICK. This news creates a stir among his long suffering household pets, Roscoe, the loyal hound, Fluffy, the tiny hamster with huge attitude, and the new addition, Shifty, the chameleon. They feel neglected by the superhero’s already busy life and don’t want share his time and affection with someone new. So they do what all well drawn pets would do. They brush up on their own SIDEKICK skills (including some awesome superhero names and outfits) in order to audition for the role. When an encounter with Manny, a former SIDEKICK gone rogue, complicates matters, they join forces to assist Captain Amazing in the battle of his career… against Dr. Havoc!

Done in classic comic book style, Santat’s art pops off the page with a “POW!” and “BOOM!” using a muted palette with “SWIPEs!” of color. A complete range of emotion is played out on the expressive faces of the characters and supplemented with the text balloons of thought and word.

Readers of all ages will find the closing scene of “super” quality time hits the mark. Don’t forget to read the author/illustrator’s bio, given in the form of a SIDEKICK application.
Reading a graphic novel takes some practice and is quite a complex activity. Help your readers by creating your own multi panel storytelling activity. Pay special attention to what a series of small panels convey compared to large ones.

Other great graphic novels for elementary students:
Krosoczka, Jarrett J. LUNCH LADY (series)
Holm, Jennifer L. BABYMOUSE (series)

By Marianne Follis

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