Thursday, December 31, 2009

Stuart’s cape by Sara Pennypacker

Stuart wants to have an adventure. He knows superheroes have great adventures but superheroes wear capes and Stuart has no cape until he finds a bunch of men’s ties in one of the unopened boxes in the hall way of his new home.

Stuart has lost all his good stuff – a mannequin arm, an oven door, a dead Christmas tree, a cracked toilet seat, a box of bent coat hangers, false teeth – all wonderful stuff that it had taken years to collect. These treasures were picked up by the trash collector and not the moving van but Stuart now has the perfect materials for a cape – ties, a stapler and one purple sock. One hundred ties makes a wonderful cape and the sock is a perfect secret pocket.

This is how Stuart’s adventures begin with lots of fun, puns (warm as toast) and one surprising good friend – the trash collector! All these events lead up to the second book Stuart Goes to School. Stuart has so many fears about school and it seems all of them might come true – trouble making friends, embarrassing situations in the classroom, being locked in the toilet or being the shortest kid in the class.

My favourite scene comes during show and tell which is called “Our big interesting world”. Stuart stands tall ready to show is marvelous cape. “Stuart whipped open his cape very dramatically. He had practiced this in front of the mirror a lot. He waited for the kids to say ‘Awesome!’ or ‘Wow!’ or 'Cool Stuart!’. He waited for a long time. The room was so silent Stuart wondered if his ears had stopped working. He felt an odd breeze. He looked down and froze in horror.”
I am once again sad to discover Stuart’s cape is out of print and our library copy is very worn. I guess I need to investigate the world of used copies because you certainly need to read these two books in the right order. Both would be enjoyed by younger readers in Grades 1-3. By the way we have our own Cape in the library made by a kind mum out of old ties. It is fabulous!

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