Monday, April 27

Superhero Picture Books

"Superhero" is the word this summer, what with the collaborative library summer reading program theme of "Every Hero Has a Story." At our library, we've been making all sorts of preparation, the most basic being book lists! Here are eight of my favorite superhero picture books...

SuperHero ABC
Written and illustrated by Bob McLeod
(ISBN: 978-0061914621)

Bubble-man blowing big bubbles and Goo Girl shooting gobs of goo? Danger man doing daring deeds and Odor Officer objecting to offensive odors? These heroes, silly and zany though they may be, have the unusual skills to conquer villains—one letter at a time!

With renowned comic-book illustrator Bob McLeod behind it, it's really no wonder that this book is just fantastic. The heroes are classic, yet so silly at the same time—I was giggling throughout. It may just be my favorite favorite.
The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man
Written by Michael Chabon, illustrated by Jake Parker
(ISBN: 978-0061914621)

Awesome Man can shoot positronic rays out of his eyeballs, fly as straight as an arrow, and hug mutant Jell-O! Villains like Professor Von Evil and the Flaming Eyeball are no match for this caped crusader! But Awesome Man has a secret... Can you guess it?

Really, any superhero named Awesome Man is just, you know, totally awesome. The illustrations are fantastic in a classic, mid-century-modern sort of way. And of course, there's a secret to discover! A secret all superheroes have...

The Day I Lost My Superpowers
Written by Michaƫl Escoffier, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
(ISBN: 978-1592701445)

Every hero goes through the same process of discovering one's powers. This little girl has all sorts! Flying and making things disappear and going invisible. But sometimes, it doesn't always work. And on a day where things go really wrong, she just may discover she's not the only one with superpowers.

This book is adorable and perfectly simple. The illustrations are basic, but convey just the right emotion. With just a touch of humor, it tells the story of childhood in a super way. So fantastic!
Super Red Riding Hood
Written and illustrated by Claudia Davila
(ISBN: 978-0061914621)

Ruby loves all things red—especially the red cloak her grandmother made her. When she puts it on, she becomes SUPER RED RIDING HOOD! So when her mother sends her to the forest to pick some delicious red raspberries, she dons her cloak and fearlessly begins her quest. Not even the darkness, mysterious sounds, or snapping twigs will scare her! But what about a large, hungry wolf?

This isn't your standard fairy tale! But it is one of those books that's great for empowering kids to help them work through their fears and problems. The illustrations and story are action-packed and it has a great ending.
My Dad, My Hero
Written and illustrated by Ethan Long
(ISBN: 978-1402242397)

Okay, so maybe Dad isn't a superhero—he sure can't fly or leap buildings in a single bound. He doesn't have super strength or x-ray vision or a force field. But he's still super and he is my hero!

The illustrations are what make this book utterly hilarious and adorable. It has just the right amount of sentimentality with some jokes thrown in to keep it light (the ending, especially, is just perfect). So, while I guess it's not about a superhero, it's still a super book.
Ten Rules of Being a Superhero
Written and illustrated by Deb Pilutti
(ISBN: 978-0805097597)

Real superheroes follow some very important rules. For instance, a superhero must always respond to a call for help, save innocent victims, be brave, and—sometimes—be really loud or messy. Even if some people don't understand.

Another book to celebrate the imagination of children and how every kid can be a hero! The illustrations are cute, which matches the cuteness of the story. It's in a similar category to The Day I Lost My Superpowers in that it focuses more on the child and less on the superhero aspect of the story.
Written and illustrated by Stephen Savage
(ISBN: 978-1596438217)

The firetruck puts out fires. The tow truck saves stranded cars. But the garbage truck? He just gets the trash. But what happens when a powerful blizzard hits the city? Well, here comes SUPERTRUCK, ready to save the day!

This is just a great book all around. It has super simple text and illustrations, so it reaches the youngest readers, but has enough intrigue to keep older reader's attention. Trucks can be heroes, too!

Batman: The Story of the Dark Knight
Written and illustrated by Ralph Cosentino
(ISBN: 978-0670062553)

Before he was the hero, he was a kid named Bruce Wayne. He trained and educated himself to become the hero we all know today. Now he fights villains, saves victims, and stops monsters. He is...Batman!

If you want to raise your children on the classic, beloved superheroes, this is your beginner book. Besides Batman, Cosentino has also done Superman and Wonder Woman. There's simple, but with just the right amount of detail to be truly educational. It's the training wheels of a future comic-book lover.

Of course, even without the big push this summer, superhero books are good at anytime and for any age. Give these ones a try. Any other favorites I've missed?

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