Picturebook Review: Baron von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident by George McClements

Baron von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident by George McClements is a picturebook about a young evil genius realizing that life is just no fun without a challenge. Baron von Baddie keeps creating great devices to battle superhero Captain Kapow, and losing. When he accidentally wins, he is convinced that his life will now be loads of fun, and it is for awhile. He begins making mischief, rearranging the days of the week, unleashing ice-cream-stealing robots, and binging on doughnuts. However, the Baron is quickly bored with his uncontested evil schemes. It seems that even villains need a superheroes.

Baron von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident is a picturebook that is both great fun, and sneaking about delivering a message. The illustrations are bright, bold, and well detailed. they will appeal to most children, particularly those well on their way to enjoying graphic novels. Beyond the story of the young genius, there is the idea that getting what you think you want, and winning, does not equal happiness. All young Baddie ends up with after having his way with the world for a week, was some boredom and a stomach ache from all the ice cream and doughnuts. While it is hard for kids to understand that adults so no to things like staying up late and unlimited doughnuts, it is for their long term happiness not out of a desire for a fight. (Can you tell I have small children?)

I recommend Baron von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident to children and adults alike. the story and illustrations are fun and extremely well done. It would be a nice addition to home, school, and library collections. The message is clear, but not told in a high handed manner. Rather, it is told with humor so that no young listeners will feel the story is directed at them. Perhaps the story will have the added bonus of interesting more young children in science, even if for nefarious purposes.
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