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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom, written and illustrated by John Rocco. Hyperion Books, Hachette. 2013. $17.99 ages 5 and up

"Every superhero gets his powers from somewhere.Photon Man had his ring. Robo Girl had her bionic arms. My superpowers came from my hair. The more my hair grew, the more awesome my superpowers became. ZOOM! Go, Rocco! Dude."

John Rocco is privy to 'big hair'. An early photo of the young John graces the jacket flap and leaves no doubt about the length some kids will go to in order to avoid the barber. It seems he never set foot in a barber shop as a child. So, he knows about the power he got from that hair, and how he wants his story to play out!

The boy in this new book is smitten with comic book heroes. He knows that their power has to come from somewhere. And, he knows where he gets his:

"The more my hair grew, the more awesome my superpowers became."

His friends are in awe. But wait, they have superpowers, too. They are a formidable team!

When he is captured (in his father's station wagon) and driven away, his friends aren't sure what to do. His father is taking him to the BARBER SHOP...the boy calls it the 'villain's lair'. No amount of struggle can save him. His powers are gone...

He has grave concern over his lack of energy, and about his friends' reaction to his new look. When he meets up with them, they too have lost their superpowers. It is only when a crisis demands action that they make a remarkable discovery...and learn to live with it.

You are going to love these kids! They have such spunk and spirit, brilliantly displayed in John Rocco's artwork. As superheroes they live in a bright and daring world; with a bike jump ramp made from a plastic crate and an old board, a tire swing, pond rocks for leaping, block buildings to smash,  and plastic pools for cannonball dives from step ladders. The ladder is tall, but there is nothing too dangerous here.

Dim gray colors their world, once their superpowers have been shorn. The expressions are priceless, the gloom is palpable, and their spirits sink to a new low. Once called into action, all that changes and the boys are left to discover  that there was no need to worry...they remain invincible!

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