Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 02/01/2014 Every Leap Day, any member of the Bailey family newly over the age of twelve develops a superpower, and Rafter and his younger brother Benny wait with bated breath to claim their extraordinary skill this time around. Unfortunately, they’re disappointed when their powers end up being less than super: Rafter can strike matches on polyester, while Benny can pop his innie bellybutton into an outie and back. They’re afraid they’ll be left out of their family’s sworn struggle against a supervillain family, the Johnsons, until a confrontation with Juanita Johnson reveals that the Johnsons consider themselves the town’s superheroes, archenemies of the heinous Baileys, and that Juanita’s similarly found herself with a fizzled-out ability (effortlessly unclogging toilets). These surprises lead the three to dig a little bit deeper and uncover a master plot hatched by the truly villainous family of Joneses that will require their families to team up to overcome. Weak characterization and run-of-the-mill action scenes mean that the execution is less engaging than the concept, and the resolution, designed to set up for future vanquishing of the still-pretty-mysterious Joneses in a sequel, barely scrapes by as satisfying as a conclusion to this novel. Underdog superhero kids are usually crowd-pleasers, however, so this may gain traction as an up-and-coming series for fans of Cody’s Powerless (BCCB 2/10). TA - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 02/01/2014 In a family where your dad can fly and your great-aunt can breath fire, finding out that your superpower is worthless is, well, devastating. Such is the misfortune of Rafter and Benny Bailey. For longer than anyone can remember, Baileys 12 years old and older have been bestowed with a superpower on Leap Day (February 29) that is used to fight their nemeses, the Johnsons. But this year the Bailey powers, quite frankly, supersuck. Unsatisfied with being stuck on the sidelines, Rafter is determined to find out who is stealing the supers’ real powers. Together, he, Benny, and an unlikely friend turn up evidence that suggests there are new supervillains in town. Packed with action and humor, this is a superhero tale in the spirit of The Incredibles. Jensen’s wit and light tone give the story a playful quality while still managing to incorporate a healthy dose of suspense. Family dynamics and teamwork drive a plot that has, above all, a super amount of heart. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2014 Gr 4–6—This superhero story is really about growing up, making choices, and figuring out the world. The Bailey family knows their purpose in life is to fight supervillains like the Johnson family. The Johnson family just happens to think that they are the true superheroes and that the Baileys are the real evil villains. Rafter Bailey cannot wait until the day he gets his superpower. When that day comes, however, the power he gets is less than super and he must learn to live with his disappointment. Although the book is not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny, Jensen employs a clever tongue-in-cheek humor throughout. Readers will identify with the way in which Rafter is treated like a kid instead of a full-fledged member of the superfamily and will enjoy seeing Rafter and his friends outsmart the grown-ups. The short chapters and action packed sequences keep the pages turning. Reluctant readers and fans of the Pixar movie The Incredibleswill be excited to find out what happens in the sequel.—Carrie Shaurette, Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.