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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Brown: My Alter Ego Is A Superhero
by Hakon Ovreas
Age Range: 9-11
Brown is the first book in a highly popular, award-winning series from Norway by Håkon Øvreås illustrated by Øyvind Torseter and translated by Kari Dickson.
‘Brown’ is Rusty’s alter ego. By day Rusty is just Rusty, but when night time comes he transforms into a Superhero. When Rusty discovers some tins of brown paint in his Aunt Ranveig’s cellar he thinks they will come in handy for painting the fort that he and his friend Jack are building. Later that day while making his way to the fort Rusty finds three older boys – Anton, Ruben and the minister’s son vandalising it. He tries to get them to stop but they chase him away. That evening the bullies even turn up in his garden but are scared off by his dad.
Once his mother and father are asleep Rusty dons his superhero garb and becomes ‘Brown’ his alter-ego. Now he can exact revenge on the bullies by giving Ruben’s bike a new coat of paint! This is the start of a series of nocturnal adventures of Brown and his friends.
Øvreås provides fast-paced prose with dry humour in both the narration and dialogue, but he also sensitively deals with Rusty’s sadness at the loss of his beloved grandfather which is beautifully captured. The cartoon-style pen and ink illustrations by Torseter add real depth to the story in their humour and expressiveness of the characters.
Winner of the Mildred L. Bachelder Award for 2020, Brown is a warm and funny story about friendship, finding courage and dealing with loss.