Such bravery! Such courage! Such feats of derring do! How can one small body hold so much intrepidity? He faces incredible dangers without flinching - broccoli, potty training, bathtime... Is there nothing he can't handle? Michael Buckley has created a hero as incredible as Evil Knievel, but in a preschooler's body. Dan Santat's illustrations show a tiny powerhouse of pure gumption who conquers one frightful obstacle after another, all with the audience of his admiring and amazed family.
Although Kel is younger than elementary school students, they will love his story and add him to the list of comic heroes like David (from David Shannon's books). Of course, the scenes showing Kel in his underpants or with his bare bottom in view for bathtime will appeal to all the kids of this age who find bathroom humor so amusing (Aliens Love Underpants, Captain Underpants, etc.). Students with younger siblings will appreciate what an ordeal it can be to convince them to try new foods or sleep with the lights off.
This is a wonderful example of synergy between the text and illustrations of a picture book that adds so many extra layers of meaning and enjoyment to the story. Here is a video where a reviewer shows some of the hilarious illustrations.
I bought a copy for my nephew Addison while I was at the Knoxville Children's Festival of Reading yesterday. I was even able to have the author sign it for me.