My two sons are addicted to all things Super Hero. Not surprising, seeing as their Dad does write for a comic book and pop culture site, but very fun to experience. When Downtown Bookworks sent me two new books, I decided to read and review them myself with a great deal of assistance from my 3 and 1-year-old boys.
First up, My First Dictionary by Michael Robin, is a visual dictionary built for kids 3 and up. The layout is bright and colorful to catch kids eyes, and to ensure that this book is a page turner even if Mom and Dad are not available to read the words.
My older son got quite a bit of use out of this one, as we’re teaching him to read with flashcards and by sounding out words. Having a subject matter he loves and bright pictures for a visual assist has made sounding out the words much more engaging and fun than our boring oak tag flash cards. I decided to ask him just what it was that he liked, and found interesting about this book, and he gave me the following quotes:
“I liked the front because it has colorful colors”
“I think that a really good writer made this because writers write words and My First Dictionary has lots of words”
“I can sound this word out, like Duh Cuh Tuh Eeeeyoooo Nnn Ah Rrrr Y….Dictionary!”
My younger son is just getting to his vocal stage, so while he couldn’t provide any cute quotes for this review, he did spend a great deal of time pointing to various pictures of heroes and saying either Hulk or Batman – his general description for all metahumans.
Awesome Activities for Super Heroes by Sarah Parvis is just what it sounds like – an activity book fully based around the weird world of super heroic existence. I’ve noticed that all of these books seem to default to the late 70’s early 80’s versions of DC’s characters – probably the most kid friendly time, publication wise.
This book, with over 100 different activities has just what you’d expect if you’ve cracked open a coloring book or “keep kids busy at a restaurant” book in the last 20 years. Mazes, guessing games, puzzles, codes (and code breaking!), pages to color, and my favorite – find the changes in these pictures are all included here.
This book is listed as being for 6 year olds and up, which makes some of the puzzles and word searches well beyond my kids. I had a great time solving quite a few of these though, as when it arrived in the mail I cracked it open to see what it had, I didn’t put it down for over an hour. Yes, you read that right, I was sitting in my house stumping myself with a 6 year old’s activity book.
My younger son LOVES this book, just to flip through the pages and look at the images. This is far more jump off the page than the dictionary, as there’s no rhyme or reason as to what each layout will bring.
My older son gave me a few choice quotes for this book as well:
I liked this book because it has Red Tornado in it, which is an android.
I also liked that it had a part where Aquaman fought Lava Monsters
My favorite part was the part where Batman was holding two comics – (this was an activity where you had to remember what was on the preceding page – He did pretty good!) that was a good picture and fun to do.
Overall, I can’t recommend these books enough. They’re fun and easy to work with, the pages shine with colors, and as my kids can attest – they’re fun to read or to just look at the pictures. Using the more family friendly 70’s DC heroes, as opposed to the grimdark 90’s versions is a great choice and brings me back to my days of Super Power toys and 1966 Batman tv episodes.
If you need a present for an upcoming kiddo birthday party, and don’t want to try to figure out what toys are currently cool – grab a few of these. They’re guaranteed to be a hit.