MMGM is a weekly meme hosted by middle grade author, Shannon Messenger. (Finally! A meme that fits perfectly with my content!)
This book is funny, perfect for young readers, and truly unique. It’s all about raising up villains, not heroes. But don’t worry, it’s written with a full measure of humor that keeps the tone lighthearted and silly.
St. Viper’s is a secret boarding school set within the cone of a volcano where hopeful young villains study subjects such as “World Domination” and “Sinister Science.” Together, the team of wicked teachers works to create “an elite team—a Syndicate of Supreme Evil, heh-heh—a force of unforgettable fear, ho-ho—a team of terrifying tricksters, har-har—to TAKE OVER THE WORLD.” Yet in the midst of one such mad moment of instruction, Dr. Super Evil takes a call from his mother and quietly assures her he’s wearing a clean vest and fresh pants.
Into this silly world of supreme evil, Demon (who bursts into flame when he’s in a rage) and a few of his First Year friends end up on the wrong side of Senior super, Chill, and his assortment of terrible cronies. A bully with super powers is a fearsome thing, especially in a school that encourages villainous behavior. Along with worries about his own survival, Demon fears he’ll never be able to live up to his father’s reputation, and he’s concerned that his friend Stretch–a girl–is showing him up. But in a display of supernatural plot twists and tongue-in-cheek humor, Ms. Donovan manages a satisfying ending in which “the best baddie wins.”
Yes, this book has young readers cheering for the “wrong side,” but it does so in such an ironic, witty way that I didn’t see any harm in it, just a lot of good-natured fun. It flips the traditional super hero story on its head and leaves kids laughing all the way to the back cover. It’s also clean (thanks, Ms. Donovan!), professionally edited, and appropriate for seven- to nine-year-old readers. I give St Viper’s my wholehearted recommendation.