Plucky, imaginative young Lola is convinced that her father, stay-at-home dad Robert Darkhair, is actually the famed super spy James Blond in disguise. When his life is threatened by super-villain Max Imum, Lola must don her own disguise and, alongside her animal — stuffed or otherwise — sidekicks, form a super club to save her dad, her mom and the day!
This debut volume in the series actually collects two stories. In the first, which lends this book its title, Max Imum kidnaps Lola’s parents in the dead of night while she’s out on patrol as a costumed superhero. Lola, her cat Hot Dog and her stuffed dinosaur James must track down Max to his lair, then use all their abilities to outwit Max and his gang and bring her parents safely home. I particularly enjoyed how Lola used her skills at ballet and pencil drawing to excellent, villain-defeating effect, as well as how they picked up a few new friends for their Super Club along the way.
The second story, “My Mom Is Lost In Time”, sees Lola interpreting news that her mother will be delayed getting home for dinner as another ploy by Max Imum to make James Blond reveal his secret identity. So off she travels through time and space, inspired by studying for her history test at school the next day, to defeat Max and help her mother find her way home. Filled with wacky hijinks and the kind of connections only a kid would think to make, this was another exhilarating ride through Lola’s imagination that will likely charm its target audience.
As a grown up, tho, it was hard for me to miss the undercurrent of sadness that seems to trigger Lola’s escapism, as her parents argue a lot more than most parents in similar media I’ve encountered. Idk if that’s a cultural thing, as Lola’s Super Club was originally written in French by Christine Beigel and Pierre Foiullet. Jeff Whitman’s capable translation brings their creation to life for English-speaking readers like myself, however, ensuring a wider audience for a frenetic yet charming kid’s tale that will likely register differently for children than for their parents. I thought it was a bit too frenetic for my own tastes even tho I did appreciate some of the slyer humor (the comic book joke was a true gem) that worked on multiple layers for both children and adults.
Lola’s Super Club: My Dad is a Super Secret Agent by Christine Beigel & Pierre Foiullet was published December 8th, 2020, by Papercutz, and and is available from all good booksellers, including
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