There’s no better time to brainwash your children into liking your hobbies and interests so they can become as cool as you than when they are still at an age where they rely on you for everything. Do you really think all the little Jedis you’ll see running around on Halloween night would have picked that costume if not for the slow-drip of facts and backstory coming from their mom and dad’s own fandom?
Enter DC Comics’ Big Book of Girl Power. This hardcover book, filled with classic DC art and aimed at the 3 and up crowd, is a great preparatory tool for a parent to use on a kid too young to read or work a TV remote properly.
Since this particular volume, by writer Julie Merberg, introduces some of the women superheroes of DC, I thought it would be helpful if I got a younger, female perspective of the book, since I am neither. With a small bag of candy and a windowless van, I was able to procure a 6-year old girl within half an hour. Kidding. I just asked my first grade daughter, Aeris, if I could read the book to her get her opinions on it. So, I asked her: “Is it Good?”
The Big Book of Girl Power (DC Comics)
First the cover, which features a few of the female heroes. I asked her what she thought about the name The Big Book of Girl Power and whether that made her want to read it. Aeris replied, “I like the girl on the motorcycle,” answering a question I hadn’t asked and ignoring the original one. This was a pattern I found that would repeat as we worked on the review together.
Moving into the meat of the book, a few pages are given to each of eleven different female heroes. There are a few action pictures and some kid friendly background. I went through each page and asked about the heroes. Wonder Woman was first, in a spread that featured her swinging on her golden lasso in front of a background picture of her birthplace, Paradise Island. After being told about Wonder Woman’s golden lasso of truth, her super strength and ability to deflect bullets with her bracelets, I asked Aeris what she thought of Wonder Woman’s power. “She should have stayed on the island,” was her reply. Apparently putting yourself in danger for the greater good didn’t resonate as much as sandy beaches in a place called “Paradise”.
More super-heroines followed and I asked her what she thought of each one.
Hawkgirl: “I like her wings, but she looks like she has a pencil on her belt.”
Bumblebee: “My favorite.”
Catwoman: “I’d like to talk to cats and ask questions about themselves.
Supergirl: Aeris: “No”.
Me: “No? But, she can fly, has X-ray vision, heat vision, is super-strong..”
Raven: I read to Aeris from the book’s description of Raven. It said she could move things with her mind. Aeris said, “Well why is she holding her hands out then?” I told her that was beside the point, as she was saving a family from a burning building. She told me the family was weird, “because the dad was waving to Raven as he was being floated out of his burning house.”
Mera: “She’s part frog.”
Starfire: “She’s part dragon.”
Black Canary: After being told she can stun bad guys and break glass with her voice:
“Anybody can break glass. Why doesn’t she just use her fist?”
Batgirl was last and as Aeris had already commented on how she liked her motorcycle on the cover, she didn’t feel it necessary to expand on the subject. That was fine, as we had both gotten the gist of what the book was all about. Aeris liked the art, more so for finding stray squiggles and what she thought was a happy face drawn on one of the heroine’s knee. Even though the book says 3 and up, it was definitely out of her reading level. My older daughter, in fourth grade, would have flown through the book, but the content wouldn’t have interested her, as it seemed written for younger kids. Ideally this is a book you can read with your 3-7 year old daughter, and introduce them to heroes that they may relate to more than the “boy” dominated part of the DC universe. Which brings me to my point.
Is It Good?
It’s a nice, good-quality hard cover, with enough going on that she let me finish without squirming too much. I could tell Aeris was phoning it in as we were wrapping up, but asked if she liked the book overall. “Yes,” was her reply. She said, “because Daddy read it with me.” Yes, there may have been too many words for her to read on her own and the idea of superheroes didn’t set a hook in her imagination like I might have hoped. But, it was a cool way to spend some time with her. So yes, it was good.
I can’t say the same for the interview afterwards though.
Me: “Did you have any questions for me about the book?”
Aeris: “ Is this the only one we have to do?”
Me: “Um, yes.”
Aeris: Nothing. She’s already hopped down and disappeared.