Author: Rex, Adam
Would-be supervillain Doctor X-Ray swoops into the mall, threatening destruction, only to be confronted by a little girl asking "why" to his every declaration, until finally he is forced to reveal, and understand, the root of his anger--and so departs in peace.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 1.70
Points: .5 Quiz: 506595
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/19)
School Library Journal (10/01/19)
Booklist (+) (08/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/09/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2019 *Starred Review* A supervillain’s triumphant debut—bursting through the roof of a mall—is stymied by a little girl who has wandered off from her mother. “No one can withstand the power of Doctor X-Ray!” he cries, only to be countered by an innocent “Why?” So begins an all-too-familiar back-and-forth, with the hilariously earnest doctor supplying thoughtful answers to the girl’s carelessly repeated question. Her Socratic method soon breaks through his villainous facade as they sit in the furniture store, him lying on a couch, baring his soul in what has become a therapy session. We learn that, as a child, he wanted to sell yarn—“Knitting is amazing!”—but his father forced him into being a doctor. Now he means to rule the world. “Why?” The doctor collapses to his knees, clinging to the girl’s teddy bear. “Because then maybe my daddy will be proud of me!” There’s a charming old-school aesthetic at play, from the mall setting and evil-doctor trope to Keane’s loose line-and-wash illustrations, reminiscent of mid-twentieth-century cartoonists. While readings may inspire unfortunate imitations from youngsters (“Why? Why? Why?”), Rex delivers a storytime home run—hilarious, heartfelt, instructive, and interactive. Kids will love chiming in with the little girl as she gets to the root of Doctor X-Ray’s anger, and in the process, they’ll absorb an important lesson about introspection. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2019 Gr 1–3—Superheroes and supervillains are everywhere these days, so it comes as no surprise when a villain known as Dr. X-Ray crashes into a shopping mall to mount his scheme to rule the world. The villain encounters a persistent and inquisitive young girl who responds to Dr. X-Ray's every statement with one question: "Why?" Subjected to the child's relentless questioning, Dr. X-Ray reveals his tragic-yet-silly backstory, questions his role in society, and ultimately reforms his evil ways. All the dialogue is told in comic book–style word balloons, with Dr. X-Ray speaking in bold all-caps and the little girl in a smaller script typeface that emphasizes the cloying nature of her questions. The unnamed child stands out in a red dress with white polka dots, but Dr. X-Ray's simple white coat and black boots can get lost in backgrounds that are either empty and monochromatic or busy and hastily sketched. Dr. X-Ray's flashbacks are tinted various colors, adding some variety to the illustrations. The book's message is that we can incite social change with persistent questioning, but perhaps it only works if we encounter a supervillain who is willing to be introspective and candid during interrogation. VERDICT Parents will appreciate the social message and kids will enjoy a supervillain with a kooky backstory about how much he loves knitting.—Chance Lee Joyner, Wilton Public and Gregg Free Library, NH - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.