The Super Book for Superheroes by Jason Ford
The Super Book for Superheroes by Jason Ford is SUPER AWESOME!! Ford begins his book (after the "This Book Belongs To" page that lets kids enter their secret identity and their superhero name) with this fantastic message, "OK! SO you want to draw superheroes doing things like flying and fighting supervillains. All you need are some pencils and pens and your very own superpower . . . YOUR IMAGINATION!" In the pages that follow, Ford gives kids everything they need to inspire imagination and explore creatively. The Super Book for Superheroes has the perfect balance of structure and freedom, encouraging and suggesting with instruction and ideas then letting kids run wild with blank pages. There are pages that show, step by step, how to draw a superhero, how to draw a costume and how to draw a superhero running followed by prompt pages that give kids the space to practice what they have learned.
More prompt pages really get imaginations going. X-ray vision lets artists show what their superhero sees inside a building and a van. Other prompt pages let kids draw the superheroes behind secret identities like little old lady and family dog.
There are hideouts and secret islands to be filled in, houses and sub-aquatic headquarters to be designed for heroes and villains, scenes from the past and future to be detailed when superheroes time travel. There are flying machines, super-cars and super-cars for villains to be designed, and a utility belt to be stocked.
There is a Super Hero Secret Code Wheel that lets readers write their own secret messages. There is a grid where kids can draw a map of their neighborhood and panels with prompts that let kids create their own comic strip with their super hero.
As if that wasn't enough, there are pages with some super cool stickers and pop-out super hero masks to be designed and decorated, then worn and even a pop-out super hero to color and create.
There is just one tiny thing that I almost hate to mention here: the superheroes in The Super Book for Superheroes are never referred to specifically by gender (therefore giving kids the ability to make them into whatever they want, boy, girl, space alien, or narwhal superheroes) which I think is fantastic, but the illustrations of superheroes are pretty clearly masculine. The lack of gender specificity definitely makes the book more girl friendly, but I do kind of wish that there had been a few pages of female super heroes for girls to create. Or, maybe Jason Ford is already hard at work on the next Super Book for Superheroes that, while remaining gender neutral when it comes to the use of pronouns, clearly has some super hero girls doing some super superhero things.
Source: Review Copy