Brown (My Alter Ego is a Superhero, book 1)

One of the joys of being a first round Cybils Awards panelist is getting to read charming books that weren't on your radar at all.  A case in point, for those of us reading for Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction, was Brown, by Håkon Øvreås, illustrated by Øyvind Torseter (American edition 2019, Enchanted Lion). This is the first book in the best-selling, award winning, and much beloved My Alter Ego is a Superhero series, and it's a great one to offer the elementary school aged kid who's past early chapter books, but for whom the generously illustrated, fewer words per page books are just right.

Rusty's beloved grandfather has died, and to make things worse, bullies are wrecking the fort he's built out in the woods with his best friend, Jack. What Rusty needs is a superhero to save the day, and so he becomes one himself! With his brown clothes and cape, and armed with cans of brown paint and advice from his grandfather's ghost, he gets revenge as the superhero Brown. Things escalate, though, and so Brown is joined by two other heroes--Jack as Black, and Lou, a neighbor girl who isn't quite as good a friend yet, as Blue. Together they target the bullies with their paint...and though there's plenty of trouble for them to get into, at last they are victorious.

Although the kids have no actual super-powers, the ghost of Rusty's grandfather is an important character in the story, adding magic, good counsel, and love to the shenanigans. It would make a lovely one to offer a kid going through a similar grieving process. The many charming illustrations and the audacity of the kids' "superhero" antics help make this kid friendly, and they'll finish this one looking for the next book (at the Enchanted Lion website, I was pleased to see that Black is apparently "coming soon").

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher


  1. This sounds perfectly charming. There certainly is a need for books to help kids with the grieving process. Thanks for telling me about it. I will check it out.


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