The Giggle Book Award goes to Baron Von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident!
Most children’s books focus on conflict from the perspective of reducing (or eliminating) the competition or personality war that is being waged between two people. When peace is established, relationships flourish. Sometimes this an accurate scenario, and sometimes it is not.
Question Boy meets Little Miss Know-It-All by Peter Catalanotto explores the opposite perspective by illustrating the way verbal combat can start a friendship. Baron Von Baddie takes it a step further, by examining a friendship and a lifestyle built entirely around conflict.
The story is told from the perspective of Baron Von Baddie, who is a classic evil-scientist bad guy. His nemesis is Captain Kapow, who is a standard-issue flying superhero with super-strength and a cape. The Baron accidentally captures Captain Kapow and spends about three weeks living life free from conflict and interruption. At first he loves it….and then he gets bored. Really. Bored. And stops building the robots he loves so much. So, the Baron releases Captain Kapow, which reignites his ability to design and build new robots, and gets life back to normal. In the end, both the Baron and the Captain are clearly happy with their lives.
Around my house, this book is frequently requested because of the exciting capture, the impressive number of donuts the Baron eats (until he gets sick of them), the fact that he gets board and the equally impressive way that he escapes jail (every time). So, in many ways it’s a standard super hero story.
However, it also inspires the occasional discussion about boredom and the reasons why the Baron and the Captain keep doing what they do.
“The Baron had a stunning revelation. He missed Captain Kapow! What was the point of creating chaos if no one was trying to stop you?”
–Baron Von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident by George McClements