Food glorious food! In April Pulley Sayre's new title, Noodle Man: The Pasta Superhero, the dish of the day is not only a meal, but also a superhero's secret weapon. The storyline follows the escapades of Al Dente, a bright young man born into a pasta-loving family. Al tries to be different and break away from the family business, a pasta deli. He trains to be a dentist and then an auto mechanic, but each attempt to distance himself from the family franchise brings him closer to it. As a dentist, he shapes false teeth like macaroni, and as an auto mechanic, he installs his pasta lunch instead of car parts. Reluctantly, young Al returns to the family deli, but finds it going out of business. To entice people to buy pasta and to save the restaurant he creates a portable pasta maker that he carries on his back and begins to traipse through the neighborhoods of his hometown, trying to sell his noodles. But no one wants to buy them.
Discouraged, Al head towards home one night and discovers thieves trying to break into a store. In his fright, he jiggles a lever on the machine, and angel hair pasta shoots out to tangle the crooks. Using the pasta machine, Al continues to unexpectedly save the day. He rescues children from burning buildings with lasagna and helps people cross the street with fusilli. But in each case, he disappears before anyone recognizes him. Soon he's the hero of the town, known only as Noodle Man. It's not until he rescues his crush (a pizza delivery girl) with the help of his family, that the townspeople realize who he is. Not only does Al save the town from disaster, his new fame as a superhero revives the family business.
Sayre's outrageous food puns, paired with Stephen Costanza's delectable illustrations, are a treat for children of all ages. And if you've ever wondered what the difference is between various shapes of pasta, you can find out here. Heidi Henneman is a freelance writer living in San Francisco and enthusiastically sampling the local cuisine.