Sue Hendra's Supertato is a quirky take on the standard superhero tale. It's set in the vegetable section of a supermarket, not a child's first choice of where to find a hero of any sort, usually. The hero of this story is a rather rotund potato! Nevertheless, he has all the characteristics you would expect of a superhero. The evil villain is the smallest character in the book, the pea.
This is a pacey read. The style of the writing includes a number of authorial questions to engage readers. The simple plot moves swiftly along through the use of dialogue which will appeal to young children. The story is delightfully silly. The narrative coupled with the dialogue has all the features you would expect in a comic superhero tale: slapstick, good versus evil, mild peril and the inevitable happy ending.
Alliteration is used for comic effect to describe how Supertato stealthily creeps up on the mischievous pea. 'Crept through the cakes'.....'checked the cheese'. There is also an element of comic strip writing with features such as 'kerpow!' Children will love rewriting this as a comic strip using an application such as comic life. This could be used to emphasise the words within the speech marks or develop the use of temporal connectives (adverbials).
Other writing activities might include wanted posters, newspaper reports or play scripts.
The illustrations help the story along enormously. Supertato is depicted as a typical superhero, with his super belt around his rather plump middle, his bandit-like eye mask and his superhero red cape. Evil pea's eyes look demonic at the beginning of the story. The facial features of all the characters are full of emotion, ranging from horror, surprise, shock to the twinkle of Supertato's teeth to illustrate just how good he is. The pictures are bright, with lots of primary colours and plenty to see on each page. This would be really fun 'read aloud' to a group of children in foundation stage or Key Stage 1. It would also make an ideal book to read as part of any project on Superheroes or healthy eating.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date of Publication: 2014