In a world where superheroes risk their lives to protect everyday citizens, what happens to the pets they leave at home? Sidekicks explores the lives of Captain Amazing, the greatest superhero of Metro City, and the dog, hamster, and gecko that wait for him at home.

When Captain Amazing gets sidelined due to his peanut allergy, he decides it’s time to hire a sidekick to help him fight crime. He calls up the Society of Superheroes to arrange try-outs after he has had a month to recover. This gives the pets just enough time to train so that they can be the ones to spend more time with their favorite hero. But Fluffy the hamster and Shifty the gecko don’t seem to stand a chance against Roscoe the dog who has actual superpowers. They take to the streets to get some practical experience and encounter Captain Amazing’s runaway cat, Manny, the only pet with actual sidekick experience. With some emotional flashbacks and a super villain out on parole, the pets do everything they can so that one of them can be the sidekick Captain Amazing needs.

Sidekicks satisfies the superhero craving while throwing in some real sentiment and a plot interesting enough for grown-ups. The story is aimed at late elementary school/early middle school readers who will enjoy the bold graphics and sassy humor. Santat’s cartooning background shows through with his confident colors and solid action sequences. The entire page participates in setting the mood with white panels during the day and black panels for the night scenes and major emotional dramas. The writing is snappy and to the point, with a traditional “pow” popping up here and there for good measure. Sidekicks will appeal to the fans of the superhero genre and those who might be trying it for the first time with read-a-likes of Squish by Jennifer L. Holm and the Frankie Pickle series by Eric Wight.

Dan Santat
ISBN: 978-0-439-29811-7 (hardcover) and 978-0-439-29819-3 (paperback)
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011

  • Sarah Wright

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support!

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