Donut the Destroyer

Donut the Destroyer
Donut the Destroyer review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Scholastic - 978-1-338-54192-2
  • Release date: 2020
  • UPC: 9781338541922
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: All-Ages, Superhero

Donut the Destroyer is a legacy super-villain child. She’s attending a school teaching how to maximise her super powers for evil. However, Donut’s heart is a heart of gold and she’s finding it difficult to even pretend she’s enthusiastic about the career path chosen for her. Thankfully, she’s secretly applied to Lionheart School for Heroes, and been accepted.

Stef Purenins is on safe ground with an all-ages audience tapping into a theme with a long history in British comics, and Sarah Graley draws an energetic and enthusiastic Donut, so the creators are halfway to success before the story begins. Additionally, the internal conflict of Donut having to be true to herself creates sympathy from the start. Everything points to a winning formula, but Donut the Destroyer never gels. Her new school friends Artie and Martha are total drips, to the point where the audience is likely to be rooting for Donut’s former friend Ivy’s efforts to discredit them and the school. Nearly all the best scenes involve Ivy, and a really touching couple of pages is Donut and Ivy’s conversation about why Donut wants to be at her chosen school.

Graley’s cartooning provides the right emotional depth, but too much is staged is and obvious, with even younger readers likely to be able to figure out what’s going to happen, Perhaps that’s the point. There’s also not enough contrast. Everything is too safe and too cheerful, negative emotions almost instantly dismissed, making for a book that’s not in any way challenging as it navigates from first page to last.