David, P. (2008). Mascot to the Rescue. New York: Laura Geringer Books.
Mascot goes beyond lighthearted imaginative superhero play to blurring the line between Josh having imaginative fun and psychological need to help deal with his parents’ recent divorce. After trying to save a new girl, Kelsey, from some bullies, Josh learns that his favorite character, the sidekick Mascot, is going to be killed-off from the comic book series. Having such a strong connection with Mascot, Josh fears for his own life as well as the character’s and takes his new friend Kelsey on a quest to the comic book’s publisher to save Mascot and himself.
More so, Mascot explores the experience of young outsiders, developing friendships and psychological support.
While it's clear that Peter David loves comics, the overall writing of Mascot to the Rescue! is mediocre, often telling in place of showing. The story follows multiple perspectives, including those of adults. But even when in the heads of Josh or Kelsey, the narrative doesn’t quite manage to feel as though it is in a child’s voice. This could, in part, be because of the emphasis on psychological well-being.
The story also includes moments in italics when Josh falls back on pretending to be Mascot.
Activities to do with the book:
As with other superhero narratives, students could create their own superhero narratives in response, creating their own heroes, challenges and illustrations.
This book could open up discussion on how to deal with parents’ divorce, or how while imagination may be a key to dealing with all matter of issues, it still must be balanced with other outlets or therapies.
A teacher could touch on the power that literature has to influence people’s or discuss where authors get ideas for their stories.
“What’s so wonderful about the real world anyway? So many terrible things happen. At least he’s reading! At least he’s spending his time doing something other than hanging out on the internet” (p. 17).
“And the way I figure it,” he said, holding up the latest issue, “if Mascot can get through all the stuff that he has to deal with…then I can get through all of mine” (p. 31).
“Well, we’ve got to find out.”
“On the internet. That’s how you find out everything” (p. 44).