Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rushton Howard & My Life as a Super Hero (well, almost)

Yesterday local author, illustrator and actor Rushton Howard stopped by (a mutual friend made the connection) to introduce himself, drop off some books, and talk about setting up some future readings. Apparently, he has quite an enthusiastic middle school following. After talking to him for about 5 minutes, I knew why! I have to admit, I’m not one for super heroes, but Rushton’s easygoing manner and wonderful sense of humor piqued my interest in his books.
Half an hour later, I had stacks of signed copies of "Sebastian Reckless” and “The Fearless Force” displayed in the front of the store and plans for an event or two (to be announced – watch this space!) in the near future.

I started on “Sebastian Reckless” as soon as I got home, and got through more than half of it by bedtime. Sebastian is a 10-year-old world-renowned troubleshooter/madman/genius who has a letter from the President excusing him from school for the rest of his life so long as he makes himself available to “save civilization whenever a crisis was beyond the abilities of the armies and navies of the world.” The boy is kept mighty busy. And why not? Inventor, linguist, musician, gourmet chef, time traveler – this kid doesn’t need to go to school! He owns a supersonic airplane, a submarine, a jungle tracker, a tank that tunnels through solid rock, and who knows what else (I’m only halfway through the book!) to help in his fight against evil.

Rushton’s writing is unpretentious, humorous, passionate, and real. Reading about Sebastian (and Tessa, who seeks his help to not only save her life but to save the world from unspeakable evil) made me remember what being 10 was about. Not that I had super powers at age 10, but, I actually was pretty sophisticated. Although I definitely did not have super hero adventures in 5th grade, if I had met a boy like Sebastian, it would have made sense. I suspect quite a few people actually knew a kid like Sebastian in 5th grade.

So who’s this book for, anyway? I say, everyone! Everyone in middle school and anyone, in fact, who has ever been 10.

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