Veteran children’s-book writer Rosen proves he knows what kids like and what they ARE like. … Although this approach has been used before, rarely has it been executed with such hilarious results.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
McEwen’s mixed-media illustrations shift from soft, homey scenes into energetic comic-book storytelling mode as the family becomes immersed in the story… The over-the-top superhero drama and pratfall-laden clashes slyly send up familiar comic book tropes, while the mid-story interruptions and diversions involving Emily and Elmer showcase a homey family dynamic that many readers will recognize.
This story-within-a-story begins with Dad reading a book to his two kids at bedtime. Viewers will note that the book Dad is reading—Send for a Superhero!—is the same book they’re looking at. It’s the sort of mind-bending detail kids love and sets the tone for the meta-humor to come. … The text and art shift smoothly between superhero action and bedtime scenario, and children should have little trouble following both storylines—one funny for its recognizable family dynamics, the other for its off-brand superheroes, wacky bad guys, and helpless grownups. … Together these two stories make one Extremely Not-Boring Adventure in reading.
—The Horn Book
The mixed-media illustrations are eye-catching and entertaining. Precisely drawn panels filled with subtle humor detail the perils of all-too-perfect Townton in comic-book fashion, contrasting nicely with the plush, jewel-toned family bedtime scenes below. Pair this clever title with another superhero adventure … for an action-packed storyhour.
—School Library Journal
McEwen comes through like a champ, illustrating the action in convincing Sunday-comics style, complete with flat-looking characters, faded colors, and a background approximating newsprint. … [A]ny silliness here is good silliness.
The playful silliness of the superhero romp complements the gentle intended bedtime tale, and a similar contrast develops between the grainy newsprint-inspired illustrations, with thin outlines and washed-out coloration, and the crayon-box (and even Day-Glo) thickness of the siblings’ world. … This will be a nice intro for kids gearing up for skills in reading graphic formats and understanding metafictional devices.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Dad reads a bedtime story to Emily and little Elmer. Observant readers will see that the cover of this book matches the cover of the book Dad reads. … Dad proudly tells Mom that Emily and little Elmer are asleep, but they’re not. So, at the conclusion of our book, Dad begins to read another chapter telling how Brad 40 saves the world. Again.
—Library Media Connection
Illustrated by Katharine McEwen, this rollicking picture book pairs the drama of a man trying to lull his children to sleep with the dynamic saga of hapless earthlings who desperately summon one superhero after another to defeat the sludgy, vacuuming forces of evil. … Very funny but not remotely soporific entertainment for 5- to 8-year-olds.
—The Wall Street Journal