Sunday, February 20, 2011

Picture Book: Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin

Hero DadSummary of Hero Dad:  
As his father is leaving to go on a mission, a young boy muses that his dad is a superhero.  Instead of rocket-propelled boots and x-ray vision, his dad has army boots and night vision glasses.  He drives a super-powered vehicle—a tank.   Even though he doesn’t have an invisibility cloak, he does wear camouflage to blend into his surroundings.  There are no sidekicks or laser guns on his dad’s missions, but he does have a platoon and a rifle.  Like fictional superheroes, his dad sometimes goes on long trips.   His dad is an American soldier…and a superhero. 

Evaluation:
Hero Dad  (by Melinda Hardin) celebrates the men and women serving in the armed services.  Military and patriotic families will find this book to be a comfort and a source of pride.  Teachers can share it to remind students of the sacrifices made for their freedoms and way of life.

The bright illustrations depict soldiers in the desert and touching moments with their families.  The pictures are geared for younger children (ages 3-8).  They show some of the realities of being a soldier, but they are not at all frightening.

There are some excellent teachable moments prompted by Hero Dad.
§  Discuss heroism.  What does it mean to be a hero?  Who do the children think are heroes?  Compare and contrast real heroes with super heroes. 
§  Make a comparison chart showing a one-to-one correspondence the narrator made  between his realistic heroic father and the fantasy superheroes. 
§  Students can make their own comparison charts either related to heroes or some other topic. 
§  Students can write one or more comparisons that can be illustrated, similar to the book.
§  Incorporate a writing activity.   For younger children, demonstrate how to write a paragraph using a class comparison chart.  Older children can write a paragraph using their comparison charts.     

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