Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Review: Baron Von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident

Book: Baron Von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident
Author: George McClements
Illustrator: George McClements
Published: 2008
Source: Local Library

Baron Von Baddie has everything he needs to be a supervillain. He has the glasses. He has the hairdo. He has the lab coat. He has the dastardly inventions and the wicked laugh. He even has a nemesis--Captain Kapow, who always catches him and sends him to jail. (Luckily, Baron Von Baddie always escapes.)

Then one day, he accidentally freezes Captain Kapow with his ice ray. Wow! He finally defeated his nemesis! Baddie goes on a spree of evil, which is fun for the first couple of weeks, but then starts to lose its luster. What could be wrong? Could it be that he--gulp--actually misses Captain Kapow?

I really want to read this aloud for the chance to use different voices and Batman-voiceover sound effects that this story practically demands. It's not just the story that will capture kids' attention. It's the little touches that nudge this from off-kilter to downright kooky. Baron Von Baddie's nefarious plans mainly consist of hijacking ice cream trucks. While on his spree of evil, he changes the days of the week around (and then has to change them back when he misses his birthday). The heat ray is a giant hair dryer. It's all the kind of stuff that sends kids into fits of giggles.

Using mostly cut paper and the occasional photographed element, McClements brings this fractured comic-book tale to life. It's the kind of style that's more complex than it looks. I've come to expect gleeful fun from George McClements, and Baron Von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident fulfills that expectation and more.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I always read this when we do superhero storytimes for preschool - they love it! I've used it in 1st and 2nd grade school visits too and they get even more of the humor.