Amelia Rules: Superheroes by by Jimmy Gownley (amazon.com)
I haven’t read any Amelia Rules books before, but despite this book being the third in a series, I was able to pick it up and follow the storyline without any problems. It is the last day of school and Amelia and her friends – superhero obsessed Reggie, Reggie obsessed Rhonda, and the infamous Pajamaman are looking forward to summer vacation. They might have to fight an evil neighborhood ninja clan. Amelia meets a new friend Trish, who spends her time writing a story in a gripping fanzine.
One of the things I liked about Amelia rules was the portrayal of imaginative play – Reggie imagines his adventures as a classic comic story in outer space. Amelia’s gang dresses up as superheroes using the typical random assembly of towels as capes and underwear worn outside their clothes, and they are promptly mocked by a rival gang of ninjas wearing grey sweatsuits.
The book is filled with innovative layouts and comic book references that older readers will also appreciate – when Reggie gives a lecture, he shifts into black and white Scott McCloud instructional mode. When Amelia learns some devastating news that changes her world, the layout orientation shifts from vertical to horizontal. Although there are plenty of scenes of ninja fighting, larger childhood issues like growing up, moving away from your friends, illness, and getting injured are also explored. My only quibble with this excellent book is that I thought the storyline towards the end was wrapped up a little too quickly.
Amelia Rules: Superheroes is on the Cybils short list in the graphic novels category.