The Curse of the Bologna Sandwich (Melvin Beederman, Superhero Series #1)

Written by:Greg Trine

Illustrated by:Rhode Montijo

For parents of independent readers, we provide a set of questions that should give you insight into what your child is reading and help you engage him/her in meaningful conversations about literature. We recommend using the questions provided here as a springboard for deeper conversation about The Curse of the Bologna Sandwich (Melvin Beederman, Superhero Series #1) and what your child takes away from the book. Enjoy!


It may take Melvin Beederman a few tries to get up in the air and flying high, but he's still a pretty great superhero. Finishing at the top of his class in superhero academy, he is sent off to protect his first city, Los Angeles, which hasn't had a superhero since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired! Everything is going pretty well until Melvin has to get his cape dry cleaned and the McNasty Brothers start to stir up some trouble. With the help of his new superhero friend, Candace, Melvin must save the day while making sure that his superhero weakness of bologna doesn't get the best of him.

Pre-Reading Activities

K-W-L Chart

Create a K-W-L Chart and have your child fill in the first two columns with information that s/he knows and wants to find out about the story. S/he can fill in the last column, "What I Learned", once s/he has finished the story.

What I Know

In the "What I Know" section, let him/her think about what things s/he already knows about the subject matter, answering questions like, "Who is the main character? What genres does this story fall under (Fantasy Fiction, Action and Adventure)? What other stories have I read that fall under these categories and that feature superheroes?"

What I Want to Know

Include questions like, "What is the Curse of the Bologna Sandwich? What will happen in this story? Where does it take place?"

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Helpful Tip

Encourage your child to stop at the end of each chapter and give a quick summary of what happened in that chapter. This will help with reading comprehension, as s/he actively thinks about the important events that have occurred thus far, while also helping him/her to recall details later on.

Discussion Questions

  1. How is Melvin Beederman different from other superheroes? How did he graduate at the top of his class?
  2. What does Headmaster Spinner mean when he says "Your brain is your biggest weapon?" Do you agree? 
  3. What do you think going to superhero academy would be like? What would your super powers be? Your weakness?
  4. How does Melvin incorporate math into his everyday life? Do you like math? Where can you see it in your life too?
  5. When was the first time that Melvin had to break the code and not help save someone in need? Do you think he could have flown without his cape? Why/why not?
  6. What began to happen once he picked up his cape from the dry cleaner? What happened to Candace?
  7. The word "NOTORIOUS" is used on page 48. What do you think that means? What/who is it describing?
  8. The author uses a lot of onomatopoeias (sound words) like "THUD", "KADONK" CRASH", "SPLAT". Can you think of some other sound words? Why do you think the author used them in the story?
  9. How did Candace and Melvin work together to defeat the McNasty Brothers?
  10. What do you think Melvin's next adventure will be?

Extending the Story

Write Out the Superhero Code

Many of the chapter titles are parts of the superhero code that Melvin lives by so create your own Superhero Academy Code poster. Check out the Contents page and work together to determine which chapter titles would be parts of the superhero code. Also encourage your child to come up with a few more rules on his/her own to add to the list! Talk about what they mean and how your child can use the code in his/her own life. Ask questions like "Where is your hideout? Where do you go that makes you feel safe and strong?" You can decorate your superhero code and then hang it up in your child's room so that s/he always remembers what it takes to be a great superhero!


Superhero Cape 

What's a superhero without his/her cape?! Work together to design your child's superhero cape. Start out by coming up with a superhero name and symbol and then get to work! If you finish and find that your child wants to take his/her cape for a spin, try this super cool photo booth idea to have him/her flying over the city skyline in no time.