A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Joshua Dread is full of monsters, mutants, and zombies, which isn't so surprising when the sixth-grade narrator's parents are secretly supervillains. The story starts with the Dread Duo attempting to destroy the world, only to be foiled by arch-enemy Captain Justice, a superhero with a knack for self-promotion. Comic mayhem ensues, complete with a lot of annihilated robots and engines of destruction, and lots of characters who are apparently killed only to reappear later in the action. As he tries to find his way in this wacky world, Joshua also deals with the challenges of friendship, family and loyalty, not to mention the sudden discovery of his own superpower.
What's the story?
Sixth grade is no day at the beach to begin with, but it's worse for young JOSHUA DREAD, who's spent his childhood landing in a new town with a new name every time someone starts to suspect his harmless-looking parents' secret identity as supervillains. HIs parents start the story by trying to destroy the world, only to be foiled by arch-rival Captain Justice -- a scenario that's been going on as long as Joshua can remember. Also, Joshua has just discovered that he has a superpower of his own. As he and his friends Milton and Sophie cope with hazards from hostile mutant plants to brain-eating zombies, not to mention corporate greed, in venues ranging from middle school to a trade show for supervillains, unexpected alliances and life lessons emerge.
Is it any good?
Adults and kids will have many laugh-out-loud moments as Joshua and his friends face assorted perils and surprise discoveries in this fast-moving, irresistible book. They may be different moments, though (to fully appreciate the Vile Fair, for example, it helps to be a veteran of trade shows). Fans of brain-eating zombies and man-eating plants will enjoy the role of monsters in defining the characters and furthering the plot. Along the way, readers share Joshua's discoveries that even parents with superpowers have a full range of strengths and weaknesses, that even supervillains love their children, and that you may have more in common with your enemies than you thought.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why stories with monsters and supervillains are so popular. How they can be scary, funny, or both?
Sophie and Joshua might seem like unlikely friends, considering that their parents are sworn enemies. Do you think kids can still be friends even if their parents don't get along?
If you had a superpower like Joshua's, would you want to use it for good or evil?
- Author: Lee Bacon
- Illustrator: Brandon Dorman
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- Publication date: September 25, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 17
- Number of pages: 272
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 20, 2019
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