CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 39. . . .June 10, 2016
Life for a fifth grader often revolves around school, friends, worries and daydreams. In this second book in the “Eric Vale” series, author Michael Gerard Bauer provides readers with an engaging read filled with these elements.
Eric Vale can’t believe it when his teacher, Mr. Winter, announces that the class will be doing a study unit on Superheroes. Not only are superheroes one of Eric’s “most favourite est things”, but they are his special subject. Besides being a year five student, Eric is a writer of the Awesome Stories and Genius Thoughts Journal featuring his own superhero, Secret Agent Derek “Danger” Dale. But like his exploits in Eric Vale, Epic Fail, bad luck seems to follow him, and this makes for a series of hilarious misadventures.
The narrative style with its casual dialogue, very fifth grade at times, coupled with Eric’s inner narrative voice, helps readers to understand Eric, his best friend Chewy, his little sister Katie and the variety of students he encounters. This style also allows other more serious topics to be woven into the story, topics such as acceptance, fears, diversity and bullying. And the overriding tone of humour, often the laugh out loud variety, completely engages the reader.
Illustrations throughout a book can add interest to a story. In Eric Vale, Super Male, the cartoon style line drawings by Joe Bauer engage readers in a variety of ways. Each page includes several drawings that connect with the text but also cause readers to read the pictures as well. These clever and humourous pictures will appeal to even the reluctant reader. Bauer’s comic book style in Eric’s journal about Secret Agent Derek “Danger” Dale has a graphic novel feel to both the text and illustrations, exposing the reader to another writing format.
Eric Vale, Super Male will delight its audience. With its accident prone protagonist, its witty humour, clever illustrations and relatable story, young readers will most likely reread this book to explore the wonderful text and visual connections and just to have another good laugh.
Janice Foster, a retired teacher and teacher-librarian, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.