This review originally appeared in the sadly long defunct Edge of the Forest. I'm reprinting my last few reviews there so they're still available
Martin Bridge: Out of Orbit! Jessica Scott Kerrin, illustrated by Joseph Kelly
The latest volume in the adventures of Martin Bridge gives the reader another two tales about Martin, a sort of elementary-aged every-boy. In the first, Martin’s classmate Harper, is always telling outlandish lies that Martin’s friends actually believe—things like Harper is getting a jet pack bike or that his father is really a spy. Although it is not explored in the context of the story, Martin’s main annoyance with this is that Harper’s stories often steal attention away from Martin. However, we do explore why Harper tells the tales he does. In the end, Harper’s story-telling is as very useful skill to have.
In the second story, Martin gets hurt while trying to emulate his favorite superhero, Zip Rideout. This prompts much soul-searching as to why comic book heroes and TV characters never get hurt, although they are often involved in situations where injury is bound to happen. Luckily, the creator of Zip Rideout is coming to school, so Martin can ask him some very pointed questions.
Kelly’s black-and-white graphite and charcoal illustrations break up the text nicely and add to the story—especially when illustrating how Martin pogo-sticks out of his tree house.
Martin’s problems and achievements are ones that kids will easily be able to relate too. Although he learns some good life lessons, the stories do not read as didactic—they are fun and enjoyable. Sure to be a hit with boys and girls alike.
Book Provided by... Edge of the Forest, for review
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