Wonder Woman and Superman teach children the important values of perseverance and cooperation. These two books, written by Christopher Harbo and with art by Gregg Schigiel, are part of a series that discuss values for schoolchildren to learn and emulate. Superheroes are a good proxy, because they are often held up as role models, the kind of people we hope to be.
Wonder Woman Perseveres opens with the values we have come to associate with this superhero. She works hard, never quits, and does whatever it takes to keep people safe. The illustrations show this, rather than just tell the reader. She races her Amazonian sisters, and tries to do her best. The picture book features scenes of her battling archvillians like Cheetah and Gorilla Grood. She partners up with members of the justice league to show the importance of teamwork. The book concludes with a page emphasizing all the points made in the story about perseverance. There is also a glossary of terms, book suggestions for further reading, and websites that families can peruse together.
In Superman is Cooperative, we get examples of Superman working with others and helping out anyway he can. For instance, he assists firefighters by helping people safely escape from a fire. He holds a beam that the families walk across, while the firefighters put out the fire. My favorite illustration of this value is when Superman teams up with Green Lantern and Batgirl. The line reads, “When Superman works with others, he welcomes their strengths.” I feel like the title of this book could have been renamed Superman is a team player.
The art in Wonder Woman Perseveres emphasizes blues and earthy tones. Her story shifts from nature settings to urban areas. While she is shown on the front cover helping boy/girl scouts, children don’t feature much into the story. It seems like a missed opportunity since the point of the books are to demonstrate important values to children. Superman’s art also features a lot of blue; primarily, because our hero spends a lot of time flying to the aide of the public. In a slight contrast to the first title, most of Superman’s scenes take place in urban cityscapes and industrial areas.
Both Wonder Woman Perseveres and Superman is Cooperative are recommended as additions to school libraries and could be great storytime reads. In the era of endless superhero movies and TV shows, these two picture books will fit right in. My only quibble with these two stories were the examples used. They featured the heroes battling the villains instead of interacting more with the regular people. For example, Superman battles Lobo and throws him on top of a cop car, damaging it in the process. I don’t think many children are likely to be throwing villians on top of cars. I felt that they could have used more realistic scenarios. I would have really liked to have scenes with the heroes assisting children and highlighting the values emphasized. The primary audience for these books will be preschoolers or kindergartners.
DC Super Heroes Character Education series
By Christopher Harbo
Art by Gregg Schigiel
Wonder Woman Perseveres
Superman is Cooperative
Publisher Age Rating: K-2