BOOKS

Clara Humble and the Not-So-Super Powers

illus. by Lisa Cinar. 224p. Owlkids/Maple Tree. Sept. 2016. Tr $13.95. ISBN 9781771471473.
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Gr 3–5—Gledhill Elementary School student Clara Humble is convinced she has superpowers; unfortunately, these capabilities, ranging from the ability to spill liquids to being able to wake up every morning at exactly 7:14 a.m. without an alarm clock, are not exactly extraordinary. When Clara's favorite neighbor Momo plans to move to a retirement home and the students from a rival school that has been temporarily closed because of mold start attending Gledhill, the title character and her friend Bradley devise a plan to use Clara's supposed newfound powers to try to stop both from happening. Humphrey succeeds in establishing a likable heroine, a spunky comic book fan with a wild imagination. Cinar's comical drawings featuring @Cat, a superhero created by Clara, work well with the book's motif. Some children may be disappointed to learn that Clara doesn't really have any superpowers, but most will appreciate the story's humor and fast-paced writing, both of which make this an appealing choice for reluctant readers. Although Clara doesn't achieve either of her goals by the end of the novel (Momo is still moving, and the rival students remain at Gledhill), she does learn that true heroism comes from good deeds rather than special abilities.
VERDICT A solid start to a new series. Clara Humble proves she doesn't need superpowers to win over young readers.

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