Everyday kid with everyday problems embraces his superhero alter-ego to help him navigate life in Jason Reynolds’ first venture into the world of graphic novels.
Portico Reeves, aka Stuntboy, lives in the biggest apartment building on the block and has one goal in life…to ensure those he cares about stay super and safe. Working in secret, he keeps his identity hidden and uses his powers for doing good deeds. But not everything in Portico’s world is all sunshine and rainbows. His parents are fighting like all the time. With an arch-nemesis on his case and ‘The Frets’ invading his thoughts, can Stuntboy find a way to save his family…
A superhero persona and a loyal best friend come to the aid of a boy dealing with anxiety, bullying and family separation in an action-packed, funny and heartfelt read. Brimming with superhero stunts, plenty of good deeds and full of emotional intelligence, the adventures and misadventures of Black fourth-grader and secret superhero, Stuntboy, are a real treat. For some, it will simply be a story to enjoy while for others it will provide the comfort and reassurances needed as they too navigate the ups and downs of life.
Portico is awesome and everyone will be able to relate to a kid simply trying to keep his family together and who looks out for those he cares about. Many readers will also relate to ‘The Frets’ - the name that he gives to his anxieties and worries. Never weighed down by its big and hard-hitting themes, Reynolds tackles the reality that many kids face in a fun yet real and authentic way and offers a hero to really root for who, even when things get tough, is determined and has kindness and sweetness by the bucket load.
Not a typical graphic novel, the hybrid format of picture book/novel/graphic novel has a bit of everything with all manner of storytelling devices used to keep readers engaged. Presented as individual episodes - think you’re favourite superhero television show - each story begins with theme music, introductory credits and opening line before the frenetic action unfolds in a mixture of traditional text, comic panels, commercial breaks, double page spreads and engaging artwork that all burst with vibrant energy and fun.
Written with understanding and empathy, Stuntboy will speak to many a reader, especially those who are experiencing anxiety, bullying and parental separation. Like Stuntboy, we all have the power to find our inner superhero and with the help of friends all challenges can be overcome.
Recommended for 9+.
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