With the holiday season now officially started and gift shopping in full swing, I thought I would take a moment to share a surprising book I stumbled across… a superhero book that is actually worth buying.
Every time my son goes to the library, he comes home with a pile of easy readers about superheroes. As a kindergartener, he is only just starting to learn to read, but he is obsessed with these books and asks us to read them over and over. He has an amazing memory and will memorize them after just one or two times, but he will still insist that we read them at least a dozen times.
And let me tell you… these are not the sorts of books that you want to read more than once. Granted, they are easy readers, so the bar is low, but still… it can be pretty painful at times. The stories are just awful.
Don’t get me wrong. I love superheroes, and I am happy to encourage my kids’ interest in them. One of my favorite picture of my son was when I photoshopped him to look like the Incredible Hulk. And I think that it’s great how easy readers capitalize on kids’ interest in superheroes to build critical reading skills. But I still have to roll my eyes when a big stack of them comes home. They are just so painful to read.
Which is why I was so surprised to find a superhero book I actually like.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I took a kids-free getaway weekend to Chicago. While browsing shops in the West Loop, I wandered into one of those little boutiques that says all sorts of silly little gifts and jewelry. They had a section of children’s books, and I started to browse through them to look for some gifts for the kids.
And so I stumbled onto the “DC Super Heroes: My First Dictionary“.
Now if you are a parent, I’m sure you already rolling your eyes just based on the title. We’ve all seen endless books with names like this… “My First Book of Colors” or “My First Book of Trucks” and so forth.
This book is different. It’s a book of 500 words. Some are generic (car, hat, etc.) and some are very superhero specific (can you spell “Batarang”?). Along with an example sentence, each picture is illustrated with a picture from the “silver age” of comic books. They are bright, fun, and colorful. It’s a joy just to thumb through the pictures.
For my son, the book is a prized possession. He loves to look at the pictures and ask questions. All of the classic characters are in there, as well as a lot of the side kicks. Women feature prominently (Wonderwoman, Supergirl, Batgirl, and other lesser known female superheroes get lots of air time), and it also has lots of lesser known characters that I need to ask my own father about (who is Zantana?).
Sometimes at bedtime, my son and I will read through two or three letter’s worth of definitions. It has high production values and is well put together.
If you are going to spend money on a book for a kid who loves superheroes, this is one you can feel good about.