The Escapades of Clint McCool: Octo-Man and the Headless Monster
Jessika von Innerebner
Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin, 2017 91 pages
Clint McCool series volume 1
What's Clint McCool (real name Walter) great at doing? Developing interesting schemes (that generally get himself and his friends in trouble) and saving the day. What's he not so great at doing? Being patient, sitting still, following rules and controlling his impulses. After a long day at school, where his secret super-power enhanced hat was confiscated by his teacher, who reported his bad behavior to his mother, Clint's day seemed a bit grim. Luckily, his two best friends were coming over after school. On the way home they see a movie being filmed staring a giant octopus/man/monster. Clint gets involved, accidentally knocks the arm off of the monster, breaks the monster's jar of brains and gets kicked off the movie set. Once home he concocts a plot to create brains out of cauliflower and turns himself headless with the help of his friend's shirt. Its back to the movie set where Clint manages to wreck more havoc and finally gets his wish to act in the movie. The part he must portray is awful and humiliating, but the show must go on and the day must be saved. By the book's end Clint realizes one more thing he is good at: being a friend.
Another new early chapter book series launched by Grosset & Dunlap (see The Kid from Planet Z). Clint will have emerging readers turning pages and rolling in the aisles as they gain confidence reading chapter books. The plot is simplistic, light, and totally unrealistic, and young readers will love it. Appealing especially to boys, Kelley writes what kids will enjoy reading. Who wouldn't want a hat with buttons that make you invisible or help you come up with a good idea? The hat is not real, but Clint thinks it is and readers will wonder as they see him pushing its buttons with contagious enthusiasm. Clint's all-suffering mother appears to be a single parent and Clint seems to have brown skin on the cover, adding both diversity and a non-traditional family. As with The Kids from Planet Z the real star of the book is the design and illustrations. There are numerous well-drawn cartoon-like illustrations on every page spread, some full-page. One color is used, a retro-blue, adding interest and contrast. A decorative blue and white stripped boarder further boosts the book's appeal. Clint will definitely hook readers and the silly and adventurous plot will ensure they make it to book's end. A sequel, Sol-Ray Man and the Freaky Flood, has been simultaneously released, so readers will have a place to turn next.