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Reviewed by Fiona Ingram for Readers' Favorite
The Lil Defenders: The Return of the Yellow Menace is a children’s adventure story written by Jaimie Hope and illustrated by Shera Herman. Twenty years ago, Jaimie, Tracy and Marci were just ordinary kids who somehow were given extraordinary powers, turning them into superheroes. They had to do battle with a man in a yellow suit, an evil man who was turning people into zombie-like creatures merely by speaking to them. Amazingly, with their newfound powers, the three youngsters were able to defeat him… but villains are never defeated forever it seems, and the Yellow Menace got away. Fast forward twenty years and the three friends have grown up. Tracy and Marci have become moms themselves, and their kids, Holly, Hunter, and Burke and Cece, have also developed superpowers. The kids have just had a successful first mission. Now it’s time to turn back the pages of the past and find out where they got their superpowers, and the story behind the Yellow Menace… But is the Yellow Menace back and is the team ready for a final confrontation?
Shera Herman’s comic style illustrations are simple and brightly coloured, making it easy for kids to follow the story and immerse themselves in the adventure. This is also a great way to get reluctant readers to want to read along because the images complement the events. There are some lovely relevant themes here: team work, helping each other, protecting the earth, doing what is right, defending justice and standing up to evil. I found it interesting that author Jaimie Hope included a character in a wheelchair who was perfectly able to both exert her superpowers and join in the fight against the Yellow Menace. This is a nice touch to show young readers that people who are disabled are just differently abled and can also participate as much as an abled person.
The story includes wonderful mottoes for kids to adopt because doing what’s right is something kids should learn. There’s a fantastic showdown between the team of kids and adults and the Yellow Menace, with lots of action and danger to keep readers turning the pages. This is an exciting story for youngsters who enjoy being read to, as well as young readers who can try on their own. It’s a lovely blend of life lessons, action, adventure, and the triumph of good over bad. Young readers will definitely be keen to grab the next story featuring The Lil Defenders.