Nikki Nickerson is an average nine year old girl. She isn't overly popular or stunningly attractive. She probably wouldn't stand out in a crowd. One fine summer day, that all changes when Nikki stumbles across a fantastical creature. A cross between a porcupine and a beaver and possessing the ability of speech, this creature gives Nikki a treasure chest. He warns Nikki that she must be willing to shoulder the responsibility that comes with his gift. Inside the chest are 9 pairs of gloves, each give Nikki a different superpower. This is the birth of Nikki Powergloves.
As an adult reading a children's book targeted at 8-10 year olds, I was still quite impressed. The assorted superpowers are very imaginative and quite cool. Some might not exactly help much in defeating a villian, but are quite handy nonetheless. I'm not very confident in my ability to review a children's book. I think as adults our opinions of favorite childhood stories become biased with a decent dosage of nostalgia. I can't quite compare Nikki Powergloves with Judy Blume's Freckle Juice or Laura Lee Hope's Bobbsey Twins series. I can say that Estes does not talk down to his audience, or use words or phrases that children would find hard to understand.
Since I was unsure of my ability to give the Nikki Powergloves series a proper review, I enlisted the help of my daughter. She is twelve and just slightly above the target audience. Much to my dismay, she is not much of a reader. Though she is a big Harry Potter and Twilight fan, she is perfectly happy with the movies and has no desire to try reading the books. This past year I have ready many books with her in an attempt to try to infect her with the joy of reading. We have tried books such as A Wrinkle in Time, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast. I must admit that as an adult reading a children's book, it is Nikki Powergloves that I have enjoyed the most. But don't take my word for it, listen to my daughter.
When asked her opinion, she merely replied "It is awesome!" and cheekily told me that I could quote her on that. They say that actions speak louder than words, so let me relay her actions. Our reading together usually consists of me reading outloud while she pretends to pay more attention to the story than her handheld gaming device. I cannot say for sure when Nikki Powergloves had grabbed her attention but I can recall early on in the book that we were having actual discussions between chapters. These discussions ranged from which power she would rather have, what she might do with a particular power, to what she might have done differently in Nikki's circumstances. When Nikki removes gloves from her treasure chest, my daughter proudly proclaims which power Nikki has chosen, based only on the color description given and the fact that she has paid enough attention to the story to keep track of which color does what.
When we reached the end of the first book, there is an excerpt for the second book. My daughter grabbed me by the sleeve and said, "Mom, you HAVE to get the second book as soon as he is finished with it!" She was thrilled to find out that I did indeed have it already and insisted that we start it right away. The real clincher though, was what happened today. I woke up this morning to find her lying on the couch with my Kindle. She looked at me guiltily and aplogized for reading ahead without me but she just could NOT wait to find out what was going to happen next. As a mother, and a reader, this spoke volumes to me. As a reader, I know that it is that fire, that passion, the burning in your belly that you just MUST keep reading that makes a story incredibly memorable. As a mother, I can't explain the happiness that I feel for my daughter to have finally experienced that joy for reading. I knew it was just a matter of finding the right story that would grab her attention. Thank you Nikki Powergloves, and my deepest gratitude David, for creating such a wonderful wholesome series that seems to have finally sparked her curiosity about the amazing worlds that can be found within the pages of a book.