Thursday, July 7, 2011
How to Grow Up and Rule the World, by Vordak the Incomprehensible
After I finished reading How to Grow Up and Rule the World, I had this weird feeling that I had experienced it before. It took me a little bit of thinking, but then I realized -- oh yeah! This is basically a print version of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog", but for kids! But then I thought about it a little more, and I realized that it really is a different idea. "Dr. Horrible" was a great because it was a great story. This book is great for a different reason.
While it is classified as fiction, this book is actually kind of an awesome introduction to non-fiction for kids who usually read fiction. At its core, it's a non-fiction instruction manual on how to become a successful super villain. The chapters are organized by subject (how to create a lair, how to dress, etc.). There really is no story to speak of, except for the little tidbits Vordak interjects about his own personal life, and how he may have become a failed super villain himself. Yet, with minimal narrative to lean on, this book kept my attention. It is completely riddled with hilarity (Vordak's sense of entitlement and pomposity will surely make anyone giggle), and the illustrations are appropriately comic-like (and also funny). I really enjoyed the interactive nature of some of the text (you actually get to create your own super villain name, and there are fun charts to help you figure out what your costume should look like).
This is definitely a good boy book, and an excellent book for kids who might love to read but are intimidated by stories without pictures. I book-talked it to local elementary schools, and I instantly had kids coming to the library and asking me for Vordak left and right -- one of the best things was that I had kids of all ages and both genders requesting it! Girls want to be super villains too.
The one problem I had with How to Grow Up and Rule the World was that it had some jokes that were a little too current. Some were current to the point that they were already not that funny any more (The Jonas Brothers faded away pretty quickly...it should probably already be adjusted to Justin Bieber). I am hoping that this doesn't mean that the book will be dated and irrelevant really soon, and that the publishers will update the jokes every once in awhile to keep it up-to-date.
Other than that though, this is a great pick for Diary of a Wimpy Kid lovers, humor fanatics, and comic book fiends.