Life, Radiation, and Supers REVIEWING A Real Stretch: An Elastigirl Prequel Story

 Welcome to another Magic Monday here at The Real World According To Sam!

Today we are talking about a prequel story to one of my favorite Pixar franchises. We're going to the world of the supers and diving in with the Incredibles!

A Real Stretch: An Elastigirl Prequel Story

Author: Carla Jablonski
Genre: Children's
Year: 2018

A Real Stretch


Pulled in all directions...

Elastigirl is a Super through and through. She loves using her stretchy powers to keep the people of Municiberg safe. And that is her main concern, even when things get extra challenging: like the fact that she needs a better mode of transportation to catch up with the bad guys; or when she meets a Super named Mr. Incredible, who seems to be all about his ego. Not to mention the disappearance of a powerful atomic compound, which sends the NSA and the rest of the Supers into a tizzy.

Follow Elastigirl's adventures, from catching criminals to returning lost tigers. But will she be able to stop a disastrous Super Villain plot in time? 


This book was released as a prequel novel to the film, Incredibles 2, but in reality, this is a prequel to the first movie as well. It takes place before Elastigirl marries Mr. Incredible and shows what life was like for supers before being a superhero in public became illegal. There are a couple of familiar characters here, but the main character and viewpoint we get is Elastigirl. We also get to meet some new supers who aren't shown in the movie, but it is really neat to see more supers beyond those we know. Maybe that means there could be room for even more stories in the world of the supers. 

I read this book because...I love Disney and Pixar and the stories they put out. I had been wanting to check this one out, but finally had the perfect opportunity to when I found out the library would be closing due to the pandemic. I made sure to pick up a few Disney books, including this one. I'm really glad I did, because this one is definitely a treat for fans and it was a nice escape to have. 

The story is interesting because for a while you don't know what the main conflict is going to be just by reading (not looking at the synopsis). It starts off with Elastigirl chasing down a villain known as Marvelous Marvin after a jewelry store robbery. Then, we see her talk to Rick Dicker as he tries to offer her a team leader position where she would work with two other superheroes who aren't getting along very well. She says she prefers to work independently, turns it down, and carries about with her business of buying groceries, stopping crime, and taking baths. Eventually, she finds out about Supers Appreciation Day, which is a big celebration of supers and the things they do for the city of Municiberg. She doesn't really like being in a spotlight and thinks doing the right thing should be good enough in of itself, but that somewhat changes when missing radioactive experimental materials threaten to ruin the festivities and endanger EVERYONE, public and supers alike. 

So as I mentioned, this book has quite a few familiar faces, including Rick Dicker. Rick Dicker is the older man who helps the Parr family (the Incredibles) relocate or clean up messes after they happen in both the first and second movies. Here we get to see what he actually used to do before supers went into hiding. There are also appearances from Frozone and Mr. Incredible, which turn out to be pretty important to seeing the range of supers that exist and their views of the public and being a superhero. However, we also have new superhero characters, such as Downburst, Apogee, and Blazestone, plus others. The variety of faces and voices was something I think was really cool, and I would love to see that developed more in the future somehow. It'd be great to see the adventures of some of these supers in an animated series predating the movies, or a spin-off film for another super after the events of both movies. 

As far as character development goes, there isn't a whole lot about certain characters we don't know, like Mr. Incredible. However, we get to see quite a bit more about what Helen Parr/Elastigirl thinks about being a hero. We learn what it means to her, what she thinks of pomp and circumstance, and how she views the perspectives of other supers. In the first movie, we get to see her as a mom looking out for her children. In the second, we see her take up her crime fighting persona again independently and see her in action more. This book though, shows us why she does it all to begin with, as far as her personality goes. However, don't let that make you think this is an origin story. It isn't. Nowhere are there ANY explanations for how any of our main characters got their powers, but really, it doesn't matter. What matters is what crime-fighting and being a hero means to them and how they go about it. We do get that in this book. 

I liked this book, but I've read reviews where people have not and I can understand why. One of the main complaints is the plot itself. The book doesn't hyper-focus on one particular villain and the big conflict doesn't arise until maybe halfway through the book. Before that, it really is just everyday life with Elastigirl, doing mundane things and seeing how supers hang out together. On occasion I did find myself wondering when something BIG was going to happen, but I also kind of enjoyed having a laid back pace. The movies have always tried to mold the mundane with the super to balance the story and this book does that, just not as well. It gets a little heavy with the mundane and goes light on the conflict spectacle component. The movies put in a lot more action and having that as the core background for comparison sort of makes this book misleading as an Incredibles book. This one may not have enough action for a lot of readers, kids included, and there's a chance they may not really be interested in the mundane aspects. They may just find it all boring and want to see superheroes doing super things. 

Also, one thing this book did not do as well as it could have, was use the other familiar characters more. While we had more conversations here between Frozone and Elastigirl, since they were already good friends, there isn't a lot of Frozone in action. We get a few conversations, and he sometimes does some cool stuff, but it is very much pushed to the back. The same happens with Mr. Incredible, apart from the handful of times they interact with one another. This book would have been much better had they used more of those two and added more of the super element to it, beyond the mundane. Another way this could have been better is if this book was the first of a trilogy in which each was a prequel novel focusing on Mr. Incredible and Frozen for the other two. Then, altogether, it would make for a pretty super set. I would still really like to get a Frozone-centric story or film. Elastigirl is a great character and I love seeing her perspective at the forefront, but there are definitely better ways to have shaped the story to keep showcasing her, without shoving aside everyone else or making it very mundane. 

The conflict is definitely engaging, although slightly predictable. The suspense was not as good as it could have been. I did enjoy it when it came around, and just wish it had been drawn out more into the rest of the book. If it were built up more, it would have been a really solid conflict to have. There is a lot of exposition that leads up to it, without actually SHOWING US the lead up. We hear about the radioactive material in light passing, but no one seems to fully know what it does because it is just so experimental. Instead of letting us see any kind of effects regarding it before it disappears, or know much about it generally, it is just a blip in the background too. 

In summary, I did enjoy this book and getting to see familiar faces in a familiar world. I liked Elastigirl a lot and I think I understand her better as a character as a result of reading this. I would definitely say that the action needed to be kicked up and the conflict needed to be approached and executed differently, but the story itself isn't a bad or poorly written story. It's an okay story with lots of good aspects I would like to see be taken further in the future. Kids may or may not like this one, depending on what kinds of stories they like. If they like a LOT more action, there is a good chance they'll get bored. If they are more patient and don't mind following Elastigirl in her everyday life, then they might have a good time. With all of that in mind, I give A Real Stretch a Lone Star rating of ✯. 

This concludes another review here at The Real World According To Sam, where I bring the books to your screen and even throw in my own two cents about them!