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Owlboy: The Girl with the Destructo Touch by Tom Sniegoski
Review by Drew Bittner
Yearling Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0440421810
Date: 24 July 2007 List Price $5.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The folk of Monstros City have regained their protector-- Owlboy has returned!

But now that he's back, is he up to the challenges of keeping the peace in a city full of monsters? How about juggling that responsibility with all the burdens of being a young teen with homework, chores and a curfew?

If anyone can, it'll be Billy Hooten... Owlboy.

In the second book of the Owlboy series of books for children, Billy Hooten: Owlboy- The Girl with the Destructo Touch, Billy is learning (once again) that being a hero isn't all fun and games. It really isn't much fun at all, when you factor in training, crime fighting and late nights along with all the things a boy his age is supposed to be doing.

Not only that, but he has a five-year old neighbor, Victoria, who idolizes him and wants to tag along wherever he goes. One time, Billy isn't quite cautious enough and she follows him into Monstros City, where she is endowed with a devastating power of her own: the Destructo Touch.

Billy has to scramble to save Monstros City from Victoria's innocent-but-catastrophic rampage, while coping with problems like the criminal Sludge Sloggers, the Sassafras Siblings (who use Victoria in their crime-spree), and a Halloween costume contest.

Even with help from his trusty sidekick/mentor Archebold, a boxful of comics from Owlboy's "creator" and the techno-wonders of his hideout, the Roost, it'll take all of Billy's ingenuity and courage to solve these problems. If ever Monstros City needed Owlboy to step up and show what he's got--it's now.

Once again, Tom Sniegoski has penned a delightful tale for young readers looking for this generation's Tom Swift. Billy is a well-drawn character, showing all of the exasperation and immaturity that comes with being a boy, yet also revealing qualities that let him rise above these impulses to become a hero (albeit a hero still in training). He might be a rookie but he shows that he's got what it takes to be a great one.

Likewise, Victoria is an innocent little girl whose hero-worship of Billy predates his Owlboy derring-do. She has a crush on Billy and wants to be with him, which leads her into danger. Sniegoski shows both aspects of her-- the naif and the nuisance-- as equally valid and equally real, which is no mean feat. How Billy saves Victoria from her own impulsive nature is also ingenious.

Eric Powell's illustrations are equally delightful, realizing Billy and his supporting cast with the aplomb of a great illustrator. His career in comics (particularly his own series, The Goon) pays off well here, as he is called upon to draw a truly bizarre array of characters, monsters and locations. Anyone less versatile could not pull it off as well.

Readers who want something to read to their kids at bedtime-- with a hint of mischief but not so much as to be scary-- will enjoy this new adventure with Owlboy. And even if you don't have kids... you'll probably get a smile too.

Recommended.

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