When Melvin goes to Las Vegas for the Superhero's Convention, Candace is left in charge of Los Angeles. Between the horrible bullies at school and the devious and sinister Spaz brothers (Major and his brother, Big), Candace has her hands very full. And someone has stolen her cape! How will she stop all the bad guys before the city is overrun with crime?
The super-sidekick gets her turn in the spotlight in this fifth hilarious book in the Melvin Beederman series.
About the Author
GREG TRINE is the author of the Melvin Beederman, Superhero books. He is also the author of the young adult book,The Second Base Club. He lives with his family in his Southern California hideout.
RHODE MONTIJO is Superhero Greg's sidekick. He enjoys creating art from his topsecret headquarters in California.
Greg Trine is the author of the Melvin Beederman, Superhero books, which he creates with his illustrator sidekick, Rhode Montijo. He is also the author of the young adult book, The Second Base Club. He lives with his family in his Southern California hideout.
Rhode Montijo is the illustrator of the Melvin Beederman Superhero series. He lives in Oakland, California. He believes that creating children’s books is super! His weakness: red licorice.
Read an Excerpt
Melvin Beederman Superhero: The Fake Cape Caper
By Greg Trine
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2007 Greg Trine
All rights reserved.
Superhero Melvin Beederman was sitting on top of City Hall, taking a break. It had been a busy morning of catching bad guys, sinister sleazeballs, and devious dudes ... not to mention devious dames. Twelve drug dealers, seven car thieves, two bank robbers, and one guy who was just thinking about taking over the world. He had that I'm-thinking-of-taking-over-the-world look on his face. Melvin had seen that expression before, and he decided to put a stop to it before it got out of hand.
But now it was break time, or rather lunchtime, and Melvin sat eating pretzels and drinking root beer on top of one of the tallest buildings in Los Angeles. "This is my town," he said to himself as he looked around. It was. Melvin was the superhero in charge of L.A. Along with his sidekick Candace Brinkwater, he kept the peace and lunched on top of tall buildings as often as possible.
Suddenly one of the pretzels started ringing.
Melvin jumped. "Holy high-tech snack food. I forgot all about my pretzel phone."
Holy high-tech snack food, indeed! He did forget.
Melvin had purchased the pretzel phone at Sneaky Sam's Gadgets for Good Guys. As everyone knows, Sneaky Sam has been providing crime-fighting tools to California's secret agents and superheroes since 1942.
The pretzel phone rang again, and Melvin answered it. "Hello. Melvin Beederman here."
"Melvin! This is Superhero James."
"James!" Melvin was so excited he almost fell off the building. Almost. James had been one of Melvin's best friends back at the Superhero Academy. "What's up? Catch any bad guys lately?"
"More than I can count."
"I know what you mean," Melvin said, although he always counted them.
"Listen, Melvin, I called to see if you are going to the Superhero Convention in Las Vegas."
"Superhero Convention? What about my day job? I'm in charge of Los Angeles, you know." Melvin took saving the world seriously.
"Put your sidekick in charge for a few days," James suggested. "That's what Margaret and I are doing."
Superhero Margaret was Melvin's other best friend from the Superhero Academy. Melvin hadn't seen either of them in months. Going to Las Vegas sounded pretty great. A Superhero Convention sounded even better. And seeing his best friends in the whole world sounded best of all.
"What do you say, Melvin buddy?"
Melvin wasn't sure if his sidekick Candace Brinkwater could handle the job. After all, she had not graduated from the academy. She was just the girl with whom he had decided to divide his cape, and this was all because of a mistake made at the dry cleaners. Could she handle Los Angeles all by herself? It was hard to say. What if Max the Wonder Thug went on a crime spree? Or Calamity Wayne, for that matter?
Still, he really wanted to see James and Margaret.
Melvin decided to go for it and hope for the best. "I'll be there," he said. "When is it?"
"It starts tomorrow and lasts all week. Didn't you get a flyer in the mail?"
"I live in a tree house, James. I don't exactly have an address."
This was true. Melvin lived in a tree house overlooking the city. From there he could spot crimes before they happened, and occasionally catch guys who were just thinking about doing devious or sinister deeds — like taking over the world.
"See you in Vegas," James said.
"Yeah, see you there." Melvin hung up the pretzel. He was still hungry and had the sudden urge to eat his phone. Instead he put it in his pocket so he wouldn't be tempted. Then he looked at his watch. Three o'clock.
"Holy I'm-late-to-help-Candace-with-her-math-homework!" Melvin said. He stood up and dusted pretzel crumbs off his cape.
Holy he's-late-to-help-Candace-with-her-math-homework, indeed! Melvin met Candace every day at the library to tutor her in math. Then they teamed up to save the world. This was their arrangement, and so far it was working.
"Up, up, and away," Melvin said and jumped from the top of City Hall.
He hit the ground hard. Very hard. After all, it was a long way down.
He tried again. "Up, up, and away."
Two more times.
On the fifth try he was up and flying. This was the way it went with Melvin. He hardly ever got off the ground in one try.
He headed for the library, looking down at the city below. He saw thousands of people — and thousands of pairs of underwear. Melvin couldn't turn off his x-ray vision. He saw underwear everywhere he looked.
"Try not to think about it," he told himself. "I just ate."
Yes, Melvin, you do that. Throwing up from that height would be disgusting. Plus, it would get this book dirty.CHAPTER 2
CANDACE IN CHARGE
This is how a normal person sees a crowded library.
This is how Melvin Beederman sees it.
Notice the underwear? So did Melvin.
It was just after three when he arrived at the library. Candace was waiting for him at their usual table. "You're late," she said.
"Sorry." Melvin sat down beside her. "Lost track of time."
"No problem. I never feel like doing math."
They got down to work anyway. After all, the world needed saving, and the two partners in uncrime couldn't do that until Candace finished her math. When she did, they launched themselves outside the library, which was fine with Melvin. He was getting awfully tired of seeing the librarian's yellow underwear. Melvin didn't care what anyone said — yellow underwear just seemed suspicious.
"Up, up, and away," they said together.
Candace soared above the treetops.
He joined Candace in the air on the fifth try. "Sorry it took so long," he told her.
"No problem." Candace had pulled a paperback out of her pocket and was reading as she hovered above the trees. As long as she had to wait for Melvin to launch himself, she may as well get some reading done.
"Put that thing away, Candace. Let's go save the world."
Candace slid the book into her back pocket. "Right."
They zoomed. They really zoomed!
As they sped across the sky, Candace looked at Melvin. "How fast do you think we're going?" she asked.
"A hundred miles an hour at least. Why do you ask?"
"I was just wondering why your hair never moves, even when you're going a hundred miles an hour."
"It's the illustrator," Melvin said.
"Yeah, I don't draw my hair like this. It's the illustrator."
"Hmm," Candace said. "That's weird."
"Not as weird as you having only four fingers."
Candace looked at her hand. "What do you mean?"
"Count them," Melvin said. "Three fingers and a thumb."
"That is weird. You know what else is weird, Melvin?"
"You have only three fingers and a thumb, too."
The two partners in uncrime sped across the sky, looking at their hands and wondering why they didn't have fingers like most humans. They wondered why the illustrator drew them that way. They wondered if all superheroes were missing a finger. They wondered if it was a good idea to travel a hundred miles an hour and not look where they were going.
"Melvin, look out!"
They crashed into the wall of the very building where Melvin had had lunch — City Hall — and hit the ground a few seconds later.
Candace slowly got to her feet. "So that's what if feels like to go splat."
"Yes," Melvin said, "that's what it feels like, all right. How do you like it?"
Melvin suddenly remembered about the Superhero Convention in Las Vegas. Hitting buildings doing one hundred miles per hour always affected his memory in one way or another. Usually it made him forget. This time it made him remember.
He turned to Candace. "How would you like to be in charge of Los Angeles for a while?"
Candace stopped brushing herself off. "In charge?"
"Yes," Melvin said, "in charge. Not Candace Brinkwater, the Superhero assistant, but Candace Brinkwater, Superhero."
Candace thought this over. She'd never been in charge of anything before, except maybe cleaning her room. And once she was reader of the day at school. But to be in charge of a whole city? All by herself? She was just a third-grader in a cape!
"I have to go to the Superhero Convention in Las Vegas," Melvin told her. "I'm leaving you in charge. What do you say, Candace? Are you game?"
Candace was silent a moment. She looked at the tall buildings around her. A whole city all to herself, which was better than being in charge of a bedroom any day. "I'll do it," she said finally. "Count me in, Melvin."
* * *
Later that evening, Melvin watched The Adventures of Thunderman with his pet rat Hugo. It was their favorite show. They loved how Thunderman and his assistant Thunder Thighs saved the world in every single episode.
When it was over Melvin called Candace on his pretzel phone. "I lied about my hair," he told her.
"What do you mean?"
"It's not the illustrator that makes my hair stay in one place when I fly."
"What is it then?"
"Melvin Mousse."CHAPTER 3
MELVIN GOES TO VEGAS
Melvin's pet rat Hugo was one hungry rodent. He sat flipping channels on the TV, looking for an episode or two of The Adventures of Thunderman, and eating pretzels. One of them was very crunchy. Of course, this was no ordinary pretzel. Hugo had eaten Melvin's pretzel phone by mistake. Melvin didn't know this until his rat started ringing.
Without thinking, he picked up Hugo and said, "Hello." Suddenly he realized that he was speaking into a rat's belly button. "Hugo, what did you do?"
"Squeak," said the rat.
This meant either "Your phone looked too good to resist" or "Care to join me in a grilled cheese sandwich?" Melvin was never exactly sure about rat talk.
He still had the rat to his ear and could hear Candace speaking. It was a little muffled with all the rat fur, but he could tell it was his partner in uncrime.
"Just wanted to say have fun and don't worry about your day job," Candace said. "I'll take care of our town."
"I know you will, Candace. I'll see you in a few days."
"Are you feeling okay? You sound a little muffled."
Hugo's fur was starting to tickle Melvin's cheek. "It's a long story," he said. Pet rats can be so annoying.
Melvin packed his suitcase and said good-bye to Hugo. He was so excited about seeing his best friends again that he launched himself from the tree house without climbing down first.
Well, you know what happened.
He also tore his cape on a piece of splintery wood on the tree house door. Melvin got to his feet and looked up. Hugo was looking down and holding a small piece of cape that had torn off.
"Squeakity squeak," the rat said.
This meant "This will make a good comforter for my bed." Or it might have been "Bring me back one of those crunchy pretzels."
Melvin didn't stick around to figure what Hugo was saying. He launched himself again. "Up, up, and away."
Four tries later he was up and flying. He streaked across the sky toward Las Vegas and his two best friends in the world. It would be great to see them again. And the Superhero Convention sounded cool, too. James had e-mailed Melvin all about it after they'd spoken on the phone. Yesterday's Bully, Tomorrow's Bad Guy was one of the classes offered at the convention, because knowing your enemy was always a good idea. Other classes were Train Stopping Made Easy and Overcoming Your Weakness or at Least Living with It.
If only they had a class called Turning Off Your X-ray Vision, Melvin thought as he flew. It would be nice not to see underwear everywhere he looked.
Melvin made it to Las Vegas and checked into the hotel. He had no clue that the Superhero Convention was not the only meeting in town. Directly across the street, at the Hotel del Lunatic, they were having the Evil Bad Guys Convention, where they offered classes like Yesterday's Math Genius, Tomorrow's Superhero, because knowing your enemy was always a good idea. Other classes included Finding Your Enemy's Weakness and What to Do When They Can See Your Underwear. Bad guys hated when you could see their underwear.
There was also a class called Perfecting Your Evil Laugh, which is a skill all criminals needed. If you're a bad guy and you can't laugh evilly, you'd better find another line of work.
Melvin met his friends Superhero Margaret and Superhero James for pretzels and root beer. Little did they know that right across the street there were bad guys with sinister and devious things on their minds. Some of them were even thinking of taking over the world!CHAPTER 4
While Melvin was busy in Las Vegas at the Superhero Convention, Candace held down the fort in Los Angeles. The first morning after Melvin left, Candace got up early for school. She attended Highmont Ridge Elementary School. The bullies had been acting up again, doing deeds that were not quite devious and sinister — but almost. As everyone knows, yesterday's bullies become tomorrow's bad guys, and Candace knew she had to act fast to put things back in order.
"I have to act fast," she said. Candace also knew she wasn't supposed to repeat what the narrator says, but sometimes she just couldn't help herself.
"I can't help —"
That's enough of that, Candace.
Candace kissed her mom good-bye, grabbed her books, and took off for school. And she really took off ... right from her front porch.
"Up, up, and away." She was up and flying in one try as usual. Then she zoomed over her neighborhood to Highmont Ridge Elementary School.
The bullies were already at it — some of them had decided to get an early start also. Johnny Fink, Highmont's biggest bully, was holding a second-grader upside down by the ankles.
His best buddy, Knucklehead Wilson, scooped up all the lunch money falling out of the kid's pockets.
Candace flew to the rescue. "Ahem," she said. "Unhand that boy."
Unhand that boy? According to the Superhero Code, you were supposed to say "Not so fast!" when you came upon the bad guys. But of course Candace didn't know the code because she hadn't graduated from the academy. She just said the first thing that popped into her head.
"Unhand that boy?" Johnny Fink said. He and Knucklehead laughed. Even they knew that wasn't real superhero talk.
"Yes," Candace said. "Unhand him, or I'll do it for you."
The two boys laughed harder. At least they did until Candace grabbed them. They were not laughing at all when she dragged them to the principal's office.
* * *
After school, in detention, Johnny looked at Knucklehead and said, "Something's got to be done about Candace Brinkwater."
"I know," said Knucklehead. "Got any ideas?"
"It's her cape, Knucklehead. She didn't have superpowers before she started wearing the cape."
"If only your dad hadn't divided Melvin Beederman's cape."
"I know." Johnny's father was none other than Milo the Wonder Tailor. No one would go to a tailor called Fink, so he changed his name. He was responsible for making Candace's cape out of part of Melvin's. "It's all my dad's fault. If only he hadn't —"
Johnny stopped and gave Knucklehead a sly smile.
"Do you have an idea?" Knucklehead asked.
"Not yet, but something's brewing up there." Johnny tapped his noggin. Not head — noggin.
"Could be. Meet me at the fort after dinner."
The two boys didn't have a hideout or a lair. It was just a fort. But it was a good place to make plans, and that was all that mattered.
"Candace Brinkwater, your superhero days are numbered," Johnny said with almost an evil laugh. Almost. He'd have to work on it if he was ever going to make the jump from bully to full-fledged bad guy. You just can't be all that evil without an evil laugh.
But Johnny didn't care. He had too much on his mind. One way or another, he had to get his hands on Candace Brinkwater's cape.CHAPTER 5
A SPAZ OR TWO
Melvin was glad to be in Las Vegas. It was good to see his best friends, Superhero James and Superhero Margaret. They had all signed up for the same classes and were really looking forward to perfecting some of their hero skills, especially Melvin.
"How's the underwear thing going?" James asked. "Have you been able to turn off the x-ray vision yet?"
Melvin shook his head. "No. And by the way, your striped ones look great."
"And the train stopping?" Margaret asked. "How's that going?"
"Still struggling," Melvin said. Ever since the Superhero Academy he'd had difficulty stopping speeding locomotives. "It's a good thing bad guys don't escape by train very often. I can stop cars and buses just fine. And I have no problem at all with skateboards."
Excerpted from Melvin Beederman Superhero: The Fake Cape Caper by Greg Trine. Copyright © 2007 Greg Trine. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Superhero Convention,
2. Candace in Charge,
3. Melvin Goes to Vegas,
4. Meanwhile ...,
5. A Spaz or Two,
6. Johnny Fink's Evil Plan,
7. Meanwhile ...,
8. Fast Times ... Very Fast Times,
9. The Spaz Brothers,
10. The Cape Caper,
11. The Spaz-Mobile,
12. Hugo the Spy,
13. Sorry to Leave You Hanging ...,
14. The Curse of Melvin Beederman,
15. Evil Times at Highmont Ridge,
16. Candace on the Run,
17. All that Spaz,
Who is Hugo?,
The Spaz Brothers: The Early Years,
About the Authors,
Melvin Beederman Superhero,