kel gilligan

Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Dan Santat

Kel is a daredevil, willing to take on enormous challenges and risk his own safety!  He took on the challenge of eating broccoli and survived without a scratch.  He had the courage to face down “The Potty of Doom” though it did take longer than he expected.  He even managed to get dressed by himself without a net.  He has tested his underwater skills by taking a bath with only one assistant.  And has even survived his mother being on the phone without interrupting, though it was close.  When Kel faces his final challenge of the day, you may have to avert your eyes, because he will be trying to go to bed without checking for monsters first!  This is one picture book only for the bravest of readers.

Buckley’s language is over the top in the best possible way.  Kel speaks as if he is announcing his challenges to a large crowd, all rooting for him.  Buckley even gives that crowd a voice, interjecting amazement at this brave young man and what he is trying to do.  The language alone is enough to get you laughing.

Combined with Santat’s illustrations, this book will actually make you laugh out loud.  The incredulous faces of those in the crowd, the bare buttocks that you glimpse occasionally, and the pride of Kel as he defeats another obstacle, all add to the humor here. 

Give this one to kids a little older, since they will appreciate looking back on their own accomplishments in a humorous way.  Expect a cacophony of laughter when the The Potty of Doom appears.  Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Abrams.