Monday, October 8, 2018

Review - How to Be a Hero

How to Be a Hero
by Florence Parry Heide
illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Date: 2016
Publisher: Chronicle Books (CA)
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

Once upon a time, there was a nice boy and his name was Gideon. He lived in a nice house, and he had nice parents and lots of toys. But Gideon wasn't satisfied. He wanted to be a hero. You know, a hero, with his name on the front page of the newspaper. That sort of thing. So how does anyone get to be a hero, anyway? Heroes have to be strong. Heroes have to be brave. Heroes have to be clever. Don't they? With wry humor, Florence Parry Heide and Chuck Groenink explore how we choose our idols in a witty story that leaves it to readers to decide the real nature of heroism.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a bit of a different book. I'm not sure how much younger kids would get out of it without some sort of discussion with an adult. But the message is interesting.

Gideon wants to be a hero, but the poor kid doesn't even seem to know what that means beyond getting accolades and having your picture in the newspaper. His ideas about being a hero seem to come mostly from fairy tales (rescue the princess, etc.). Eventually, he comes to realize that, often, being a hero often boils down to being in the right place at the right time. (Not that this helps him in the slightest, which leads to the amusing and thought-provoking conclusion to the book.)

The illustrations are okay, nothing special... but they're an integral part of the story, and the book wouldn't work without them (you'll see what I mean if you read it).

Overall, this is an interesting children's book that has a rather grown-up message, but it's presented in a way that kids can probably understand, especially if they have an adult work through it with them.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.67 out of 5

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