From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Vincent Wu knows everything there is to know about Copperplate City's most beloved superhero, Captain Stupendous. He talks about him at dinner. He does reports on him at school. He is even a founding member of the Captain Stupendous Fan Club. When the hero takes a bad hit rescuing Vincent's not-so-secret crush, Polly Winnicott-Lee, he returns slightly different. He no longer has the skills he once had, and he is nearly pulverized in a rematch with the giant automaton he's bested before. In a last-ditch effort to save Vincent from being crushed, and to escape the battle, Stupendous takes off with the boy in his grasp. There is a revelatory moment when Stupendous unveils his secret identity: Polly. During the last battle Stupendous died and passed his abilities to her. It is now up to Vincent to train her and convince her that what he thinks of as the best gift ever is worth keeping. Jung has created an interesting city with a diverse population, reliant on and in love with superheroes (it has four Captain Stupendous fan clubs). The characters experience a good bit of growth, and kids will get a kick out of a teenage girl transforming into a muscle-bound man when performing herculean feats. The plot, funny and exciting, follows a lot of generic superhero themes. There are occasional mild swear words, which are jarring in a text so otherwise perfectly suited to this audience. For those trying to find some accessible adventure stories with a hint of romance, this is a good additional purchase.-Devin Burritt, Wells Public Library, MEα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
For Vincent Wu, there is nothing as important in the world as Captain Stupendous, Copperplate City’s own real-life superhero. As president of the best (albeit three-member) Captain Stupendous fan club, his knowledge is unsurpassed. Indeed, the only thing to rival his superhero obsession is his interest in one Polly Winnicott-Lee, the best girl in school, in his eyes. So Vincent is understandably perplexed when Captain Stupendous and Polly turn out to be one and the same. But there’s no time to figure it out. Professor Mayhem has kidnapped Vincent’s mother and taken her to his lair beneath stinky Lake Higgleman. Can Vincent, Polly, and friends save the day? Amid the battles with giant alloy robots and alien visitations, Jung explores some interesting curiosities—what would middle school be like in a world where superheroes existed?—and offers some honest and resonant ideas on the matter. With snappy and authentic dialogue, layered plotting, full-on science, and sweet preteen romance, Jung’s boisterous debut is a winner. Here’s hoping we haven’t seen the last of this bunch. Grades 4-7. --Thom Barthelmess