Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Meet PIZAZZ: the Snarky, Reluctant Hero of this New Highly-Illustrated MG Series! (Review)

 Disclosure: I was sent review copies from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Discover the annoying side of being a superhero from snarky, reluctant hero, Pizazz! 

The folks at Simon & Schuster recently launched this new book series, which includes two hilarious, fun-filled titles - "Pizazz" and "Pizazz vs the New Kid". 

"Pizazz is a highly-illustrated series about a relatable, sarcastic superhero, from award-winning picture book creator Sophy Henn. Perfect for young readers transitioning into middle grade, these books will appeal to fans of Dog Man and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.


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"The first book of the series, PIZAZZ (On Sale 6/1/21 | Aladdin), introduces us to our young hero and explores themes of confidence, friendship, and conservation as Pizazz navigates the challenges of starting a new school, and works to save a local park. More than anything, Pizazz wants to be normal. 

Although most people think superhero work is awesome and fulfilling, Pizazz

knows better. Whenever she’s in the middle of a movie or having fun with her friends, she has to dash off the save the world. Plus, being the good guy all the time is so not easy. Superheroes have bad days like everybody else."


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"In book two, PIZAZZ VS. THE NEW KID (On Sale 6/1/21 | Aladdin), Pizazz butts heads with another superhero kid. At first Pizazz hopes that a new super kid in her class will mean the Populars will have someone else to pick on. But it turns out Jett is super skilled, super cool, and super competitive. 

Pizazz and Jett end up in a heated competition to prove who is the best at everything, both super and normal. Then, Pizazz’s worst nightmare happens: Pizazz and Jett must work together to save the world."


I was excited to share these two books with my girls, as they are both reading middle grade chapter books, and love graphic novels.  While this book is not a full on graphic novel, it does give the feel of it throughout the book with the black and white cartoons and graphics.  I like how the girls forget they are reading a chapter books with lots of text, as the full page illustrations and graphics throughout break up the reading, and make it fun to read.  

Before I could let my girls read the books, I wanted to check them out. I ended up reading both in one sitting, and have to say I really enjoyed both.  I had never heard of the author, but after mentioning the name at the library to the teen librarian, she was quick to point out she is an amazing illustrator, and then showed me a handful of her books including "Let's Explore with Ted," "Lifesize Dinosaurs," and "Lifesize" with a cute panda on the cover.  I told the librarian that I had just read the author/illustrator's two new Pizazz books, and she was jealous, as she was waiting for copies to arrive, to read herself, before putting on the shelf for kids.  She said she expected these chapter books to be a hit for summer reading, and I couldn't agree with her more.  

After I was done reading the two books, I passed them over to my two girls so that they could read them, and then let me know what they thought of them.  My youngest didn't want to start with book, as she likes to read books in order, so she waited until her sister was done with both, before reading them.  She didn't have to wait long, as her sister read both in a few hours time. Like me, she couldn't put the books down once she started to read them. And, when she got to the end of book 2, she came running to ask if there were more Pizazz books available, and if not, when the next installment would be out, as she was hooked on the books, and loved the whole idea of Pizazz being a middle school super hero.  She was able to pick up on themes which included friendship, confidence and conservation.

Hearing all the rave reviews by her sister, my youngest daughter, couldn't wait to read the two books.  She, too, was able to finish both in a day, and couldn't stop talking with her sister and I about the books, characters, and her favorite parts.  My girls said they loved rooting for Pizazz and Jett, and how some of the situations they were in, my girls could relate to.  They loved how the author/illustrator not only told the story of this tween superhero, but the illustrators really helped bring the stories to life in their minds, as they read through the pages.  Like me, they liked the mix of text along with comic style illustrations and full page illustrations. They didn't mind that the illustrations were in black and white, and it gave the book a retro or unique spin, compared to full-color graphic novels and middle grade chapter books they are used to reading.

My girls and I found ourselves talking non-stop about these two new releases from Sophy Henn, and can't wait for more books to be released in the Pizazz series.  But, for now, we are happy with re-reading these two books, and my girls love doodling their own spin off of Pizazz being a superhero kid, just trying to get through middle school, and not looking silly. :-)

If you have a reluctant reader, or your child is gearing up for summer reading and looking for new books to check out, I highly recommend these two Pizazz books by Sophie Henn. Filled with lots of illustrations, they will keep even the most reluctant reader engaged and entertained, as they read through the pages. And, once they get to the end, they will be all smiles, as they will have enjoyed what they just read, and fall in love with Pizazz, and want to read more superhero adventures with her. 

You can learn more about the new Pizazz series, as well as other new chapter book releases for tweens/teens by visiting the Simon & Schuster website -- https://www.simonandschuster.com/.  I can't wait to hear what your kids think of these two new Pizazz releases, so be sure to come back and share their thoughts in the comment section below.   Happy reading! :-)


About the Author/Illustrator:

Sophy Henn is an award-winning picture book author and illustrator with a master’s in illustration

from the University of Brighton. She is the creator of the much-loved Bad Nana series, the Pom Pom series, the Ted board book series, and the nonfiction titles Lifesize and Lifesize Dinosaurs, among others. Her debut picture book Where Bear? was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. Sophy was the World Book Day Illustrator in 2015 and 2016.

 Disclosure: I was sent review copies from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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