SuperJoe Does Not Do Cuddles
Author: Michael Catchpool
Illustrator: Emma Proctor
Publisher: Lantana Publishing
I really wanted to love this book. And, there is so much to love.
The illustrations are glorious. Proctor’s use of color, light and shading make the ordinary extraordinary. The “terrifying tiger on the loose” wearing a yellow/purple scarf through a prismatic forest really pops off the page. Her use of negative space adds further dimension to the illustrations already enhanced by the pencil-line-thin under-shading she employs. That is some seriously subtle work. And it is difficult in any medium.
The story is wonderful. A superhero boy, that hates to be cuddled; with, an arch nemesis–trying to subvert him at every step. The nemesis, of course, is the subject of a wonderful twist at the end of the book.
Why do I like, but not love this book? It’s a lost opportunity. Nowhere is there a father/male paternal figure present and/or mentioned anywhere in the book. You would think that cuddles are the sole (soul?) purview of all that is feminine. And, bluntly/simply stated, a society that is constantly harping on men’s inability to show emotion should provide a mirror, a window, a door that men can emulate. Yes, boys need their cuddles. And, they need to see men doing the cuddling as well.
My thanks to Lantana Publishing for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.
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