The Gumazing Gum Girl: Gum Luck
I’m not sure how Gabby Gonzalez got the ability to turn into a bubblegum-powered stretchy superhero, not having read the first book, Chews Your Destiny (ha ha). I didn’t need to know, though, since The Gumazing Gum Girl: Gum Luck was plenty of fun on its own. Plus, the cover smells like bubblegum. (Which caused some confusion when I forgot it was in a stack — why do I smell gum?)
This chapter book is copiously illustrated with cartoony, thick-line art. When not gummy, Gabby looks like a muppet, since her round head is all eyes and open mouth. The drawings are pink-tinted, like gum, welcoming the reader into her world.
Gabby likes helping people with her strange powers, but she doesn’t like keeping her identity a secret from her family. Her father is a dentist, and to save her teeth, she’s promised to stop chewing sugary gum. (Her parents, oddly, don’t seem to know that sugarless gum exists.) But that’s how she becomes a superhero, with the ability to stretch and form into different shapes. (Think a cute little version of Plastic Man.)
Her life is additionally complicated by a giant robot created by a new villain (who isn’t very good at it); Natalie Gooch, the school bully (all chin and hulking bulk); and Ravi Rodriguez, junior reporter. When zoo animals get loose, Gabby has to find a way to save the day.
Aside from the anti-gum weirdness, this is a classically styled superhero tale that kids should find funny and adventuresome. There are some gross bits, too, which I bet they’ll laugh at. Not all the challenges set up are resolved in this book, which also is true to the genre author Rhode Montijo is clearly influenced by. This new-style superhero is safe for kids, with silly powers that spur imagination. (The publisher provided a review copy.)