Sunday, June 23, 2013

Book Review: Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun characters pull you into the story
Cons: Fairly predictable, although kids won’t notice as much
The Bottom Line:
Pets to the rescue
As they quest to get more time
With super owner

Super Powered Pets!

Last year, I heard a panel of Middle Grade authors speak, and when it was over, I bought all their books.  I am finally getting to the second one with Sidekicks, a graphic novel written by Dan Santat.  It was a fast read, but it was fun.

What is life like for a superhero’s pets?  That’s the idea behind this fun graphic novel.  We open with Roscoe (a dog) and Fluffy (a hamster) waiting for Captain Amazing to get home.  They see on the news that he’s hurt in a battle, but when he comes home promising to rest and spend time with them, he’s also brought along a new pet, Shifty the chameleon.  While Roscoe isn’t happy about the new addition, the idea of finally getting to spend time with Amazing sounds, well, amazing.

However, things get interesting when Captain Amazing decides it is time to find a new sidekick to help his as he gets older.  All of his pets decide to try to get the spot.  Do they have what it takes?  If Captain Amazing chooses any of them, will that mean they get to spend time with him?

The story was fairly predictable.  I think one of the twists caught me off guard.  And yet the target audience will probably be more surprised by what happens here.  Either way, it’s easy to get caught up in the story and keep reading to find out what happens next.

And the reason I was pulled into the story?  The characters.  Okay, so they are fairly basic, but they were real enough to pull me into the story.  They are charming and fun and really made me care.  And yes, the main characters are the pets.  There are humans around, but they are the supporting characters.

Being a graphic novel, the art is important in telling the story.  Dan wrote and illustrated the book, and the pictures are great.  They help advance the plot or let us in on character’s thoughts.  The color choices are often limited per page, but it doesn't matter because they work well.

Of course, being a graphic novel, I breezed through it.  I was done in under an hour.  And yet, I’m glad I took the time to get it because I had fun.

I’m a year or 20 older than the late elementary school target audience.  I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t enjoy the book, however.  And while it is short, if it will introduce any kids to the joys of reading, I’m all for it.

So if you but especially your kid are looking for a different take on the superhero genre, pick up Sidekicks.  This is a charming tail, er tale, that all will entertain.

This is my entry in this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.  Check out the host, Shannon Messenger, for other entries.


  1. The only thing I didn't like about this was the title-- there is a Ferraiolo title as well as a new Anderson title that are way too similar and deal, of course, with superheroes!

    1. Unfortunately, there are many time when books have the same titles. You just can't copyright titles.

  2. I seriously need to up my graphic novel reading and this will be one of the books I should read.

  3. oooh my 9 yr old would love this. Thanks for the review. I'm always on the hunt for fun graphic novels. cheers.

    1. Yes, I think 9 would be the perfect age. Enjoy!

  4. I will have to read this one. It sounds like a book that a lot of my 5th grade students will enjoy. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You're welcome. I hope you and they enjoy.