Pizazz – written and illustrated by Sophy Henn, Aladdin (an imprint of Simon & Schuster), 9781534492431, 2021
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
What did you like about the book? Pizazz is the reluctant, pig-tailed, and slightly awkward superhero in this chapter book/graphic novel hybrid. Having to wear a cape, running out because she has to save the world, and being constantly shown up by her super little sister (aka, Red Dragon), doesn’t help her win friends at her new school. A failed run for student council leaves her feeling rejected and the consolation prize seems lame: being appointed class Eco Monitor. But with some new allies and a definite, concrete purpose, Pizazz finally feels important and secure enough to reveal her “lame” superpower: jazz hands and clouds of glitter that get things done. This is the first in a projected series and there’s lots of exploration of Pizazz’s crazy family tree (including some potential villains on her dad’s side), past battles and adventures, and even a tiresome robot dog who’s actually an alarm system. The layout and art are slick and cute, with a nod to classic comics. Henn uses half-tone overlays and innovative cells to animate her action sequences. It’s a British import, and native slang is freely incorporated, but the decoding is easy. All the main characters are White.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Pizazz is remarkably grumpy and down on her family and her powers, which seemed a bit off to me. At age 9, I think most kids would be pretty psyched to be super.
To whom would you recommend this book? This was a cute, quick read if not particularly compelling. With its clever mix of text punctuated by graphics, I can see it being a good match for reluctant readers who love comics. Recommended for grades 2-4.
Who should buy this book? Elementary schools and public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Graphic novels
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: June 29, 2021