Wedgieman to the Rescue. by Charise Mericle Harper, illustrated by Bob Shea. February 12, 2013. Random House. 48 pages. ISBN: 9780307930729
Wedgieman to the Rescue is a level 3 easy reader from Random House’s Step into Reading series. In his second adventure, Veggieman (aka Wedgieman) comes up against Bad Dude, a villain keen on zapping the playground and forcing all the kids to work in his factory. Not only does Wedgieman come through to save the kids, but the kids give Bad Dude a toilet-themed nickname of his own.
I like Veggieman as a character, and I think the tone and illustrations of this book are spot-on for the target age group. Unfortunately, I think the assumption that kids are bad spellers, and that the only jokes they laugh at are related to underwear and poop, is a major weakness. Kids reading at this level know about the silent E at the end of certain words, and they would know better than to pronounce “dude” as “doodie.” I think the average child likes at least some vegetables, so trying to use toilet humor to make them more palatable doesn’t really work either. While Veggieman isn’t really an objectionable personality, I don’t understand why the hero of a children’s book is this man who lets kids bully him and call him names, and who seems to think so little of their intelligence. Odd choice.
Wedgieman to the Rescue might appeal to fans of the first book, but it’s not among Harper’s best. As an alternative superhero series, try Marvel’s Superhero Squad series, two titles in which I have reviewed. Wedgieman to the Rescue will be published on February 12.
I received a digital ARC of Wedgieman to the Rescue from Random House via Edelweiss.
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