Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Review - "The Big Bank Burglary"

As a librarian, I mark the success of a book in several ways.  Reviews are nice, shiny award stickers are special, and high circulation numbers always get my attention.  But one of the most rewarding ways to measure success is literally in the eyes of the reader.  I read and reviewed Kim Donovan’s debut entry in the St. Viper’s School for Super Villains (at the author’s request), and liked it enough to purchase a copy for my collection.  It’s light enough for reluctant readers and funny enough to get those who just love a good laugh.  The other day, I discovered the best kind of feedback.  I was booktalking The Riotous Rocket Ship Robbery with a nine-year-old boy, whose eyes grew bigger and bigger the longer I talked, and then he promised to come back to get the book when he was done with the books he had to read to get his requisite points at school.  He wanted to read it for fun!  Huzzah!  

And so it was with great pleasure I turned to the second volume in the St. Viper’s series, The Big Bank Burglary.  The second time around, Demon Kid and his friends are trying to earn their place on the prestigious bank burglary team, part of a grander scheme run by the grown-up super villains in their overall quest to rule the world.  Thanks to his notoriety from the rocket ship incident, Demon and his friends are flying high, until a new student, Copycat, joins the class and quickly takes Demon’s place as top dog.  No matter what Demon does to try and stand out, Copycat is always one step ahead.  But there’s something fishy going on, and Demon may be the only one that can save all our super villains from the heroic clutches of super heroes like Captain Cool and Muscle Man.

What I enjoyed about the first volume of Ms. Donovan’s series was the rampant humor and the very relatable need to make a name and a place for oneself.  In this second outing, another universal theme is explored, one every kid can understand: the new kid.  The new kid is so special, the new kid is so great.  Teachers love him, kids love him, and he succeeds at everything he does, especially the same things that you always thought made you unique.  Demon’s eventual victory over Copycat is classic wish fulfillment, and it’s a great turnabout that I didn’t see coming.

I could still use some more character development, and I still want to spend more time with Demon’s kooky teachers, but overall I was pleased with this second installment of St. Viper’s School for Super Villains.  Once again, it’s a quick, satisfying  read that I know will appeal to little troublemakers and do-gooders alike.

St. Viper’s School for Super Villains: The Big Bank Burglary by Kim Donovan
2013, Squawk Books
Electronic copy provided by author for review