Do you or your child want to be a superhero but don’t know where to start? I know there have to be many of you out there with this problem. Perhaps half or more of our readership. They say that the (super) suit makes the man (or woman), so I’m here to help. I recently discovered The Superhero Handbook, which guides readers through creating their own superhero outfits, hideouts, gadgets, transport, and even superhero symbol. Throughout, there are activities (like science experiments, crafts, and more) that fill out your superhero profile. And, the back of the book includes a number of activities for you to test your superpowers! (Parents need not worry: all of these superpowers are courtesy of the wonders of science.) The book touts itself as a complete superhero training course, so once you’ve gone through the whole thing, you’ll be ready to shine.
The Superhero Handbook is in the same series as The Superhero Comic Kit that I reviewed at GeekDad previously. It’s much smaller than the Comic Kit, in a trade paperback size. It’s red and exciting, full of starbursts and comic-style graphics. It’s mostly a reference and activity book, but there are several places for those creating their super persona to mark things off a list, draw ideas, or brainstorm names. It also includes plenty of notes that indicate if kids will need help with an activity (a reliable sidekick) or if an activity is particularly messy.
I’m the type of person who is greatly influenced by someone else’s mood and how they express themselves. Enthusiasm is contagious with me. Thus, I love books like this. The book is full of excitement, so I’m excited. This kind of thing often works on kids, too, so give it a try on your geekling. They recommend the book for ages 6 and up. Go through the book in order, starting with choosing your superhero name, or jump around, doing the steps in the order you or your kid is inspired. But, for sure, begin with the Superhero Oath, which emphasizes that being a superhero is about promoting peace and combating wrong-doing in the world. It’s a moral imperative.
Then tackle issues such as figuring out what your superpower is, whether you want a sidekick, learn how to put together your stash of tools to fight evil, and maybe devise some secret codes.
Once you finish your superhero training, you receive the superhero certificate in the back of the book. Now you can fight injustice, promote peace, and do science! The back of the book also has a sheet of stickers featuring the superheroes, supervillains, and plenty of ZAP! CRUNCH! SHAZAM! type words.
So, back to reality, how great is this book? It’s pretty darn cool. It packages 20 different activities, all based on science or personal expression, into the idea of forming your own superhero persona. For those motivated by comics and superheroes, but not so much by schooling, this book helps make learning more fun, and combined with something they already enjoy. Also, all or most of the supplies you’ll need for the activities are generally found around the house.
One thing I love about this book is that it puts boys and girls on an equal footing. For every image of a boy superhero, there is a girl superhero. Girls aren’t relegated to the craft activities while the boys fight the bad guys. It’s an even balance. And both boy and girl superheroes are drawn with full body coverage of their costumes. Nothing skimpy here.
The Superhero Handbook is available now, and would be the perfect summer activity for you or your kids. If more than one of your kids wants to take this complete superhero training course, I recommend one book per kid, because of the oath that needs signing, removable certificate, and places to write in the book. Or, maybe your whole family wants to do it. Then, by the fall, you’ll have a whole family of superheroes, ready to take on the world!
Note: I received a copy of the book for review purposes.