Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Cover to Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Metro City’s very own superhero Captain Amazing is getting too old for his job, so he’s going to need some backup. Sidekicks is the journey of some die-hard hero wannabes who wish to join the captain for one very simple reason: They are his pets, and he hasn’t been paying them any attention lately.

It seems like a good idea, and Roscoe the dog (hero name Metal Mutt) seems like a shoe-in. Who would be a better superhero sidekick than man’s best friend? Unfortunately, ever since an incident with Amazing’s last animal sidekick, he’s adopted a strict no-pet policy.

Sure, all of these guys bring something to the table. Roscoe is big and strong; Shifty the Chameleon has powers of camouflage. Manny the cat has actual experience in the field. But what can tiny hamster Fluffy possibly do? At least he has a teeny, tiny Captain America costume.

Now Captain Amazing’s nemesis, Dr. Havoc, is on the loose. And the team is going to have to do much more than simply cough up hairballs at him. Do they have what it takes?

The story is one of teamwork and the ability of a group to triumph where a mere collection of individuals might fail. You have probably seen this plot before, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.

A few months ago, I raved about Santat’s illustrations in the picture book Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World). Though not as visually dense as that picture book, Sidekicks is still awfully delightful. This would be a terrific introductory graphic novel for the under-ten crowd, giving them the chance to take on a big adventure with bold colors and funny characters.

Short, furry, and funny, Sidekicks puts the purr in su-purr-hero.