Mia Mayhem is a Superhero! (Book #1) by Kara West
Illustrated Leeza Hernandez
Little Simon, 2018
Hardcover Early Chapter book, 128 pp.
Mia: “I’m starting to believe that a little mayhem is okay.”
After finishing book one, I believe that a little mayhem is more than just okay—it’s pretty great.
Mia Macarooney receives a letter to the PITS (Program for In Training Superheroes) three years late. After her parents explain that they are all of them superheroes, some of Mia’s experiences start to make sense: her strength and speed. Her parents reassure her that with some training, she’ll be better able to control her abilities.
[[Mom isn’t a just flight attendant: she can fly on her own. And Dad isn’t just a Veterinarian: he can talk to animals. And repair things with a zap from his hands.]]
After these awe-inspiring discoveries, Mia learns that she can cause time freeze—that’s new. What isn’t new is the chaos that seems to follow; or her fear of heights.
We get to come along to her first introduction to the PITS as well as her first day. She gets a costume (in a series of hilarious attempts), has to pick a name, takes a tour and has her assessment. West guides an energetic, humor-filled narrative (Mia’s), and Hernandez rounds off the comedic timing with the posture and expression of a singular personality.
The creative minds behind Mia Mayhem seem to be having some fun; but what is a superhero story without a bit of fun with the naming. Her best friend is Edison “Eddie” Stein, whom you’ll be unsurprised to learn is supersmart. There is Dr. Sue Perb (get it? superb?). Professor Stu Pendus.
Mia Mayhem will make for a fun read for the emerging read to share with their caregiver. Illustrations grace most pages and the font and spacing is friendly. The action is delightful in both text and illustration (pages 92-93 had me laughing out loud). Mia is a fun, engaging character surrounded by an equally promising cast of animals, friends, family, classmates, and superpowers. I’m going to have to follow this series (maybe gift a couple book 1s).
A few notes: I love how POC characters are in places of import, and in the majority.
I love that even though it’s a superhero story and understands the need for secret identities, the parents encourage Mia that it is important to have people to confide in.
Kara West would love to be a superhero, mostly so she can ask squirrels what they’re so nervous about. She lives in Chicago with her own cats, who, unlike Chaos, spend more time sleeping than causing trouble. Thank goodness.
Leeza Hernandez, an award-winning illustrator and now children’s book author, hails from the south of England, but has been living in New Jersey since 1999. She works as an art director at a local magazine and in her spare time, creatively noodles with new ideas for books in her art studio. She loves to experiment with printmaking, pen and ink, digital collage, and painting.