Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Superhero Joe

Barrett, Ron (Illustrator)
Simon & Schuster 2011. 32 pages
First published: 2011
ISBN: 9781416991571 (hardcover)
9781442435049 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, structures and features

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

With little more than a bike helmet, rubber boots and a flashlight, Joe transforms himself from a boy who “used to be scared of everything” to a superhero who saves his parents from a motor oil spill (“evil black ooze”) on the kitchen floor. Using the recognizable language and motifs of a superhero comic, Joe dons his “Cape of Confidence” (bath towel) and “Shield of Invincibility” (trashcan lid) to save the day. His transformation into Superhero Joe means he can descend into “The Darkest Depths” (the basement) to get the “Staff of Power” (mop) that will save his family.

Language is full of imagination and takes an urgent, direct tone in true superhero style. This story of overcoming adversity features the everyday home environment and fears that are familiar to young readers. Single lines of text are laid out in bright yellow boxes above the images.

Dynamic illustrations, reminiscent of early Archie comics, with bold black outlines, bright colours and cross-hatching for shading, perfectly capture the style. Joe’s past terrors are depicted in dark blues and greys, providing a lovely eerie contrast to his newfound assurance.

Readers will easily recognize this appealing character and gladly cheer him on as he struggles to overcome his fears.

  •  

    What are you afraid of? How do you face your fears?

  •  

    As you read, notice the comic book features (multiple panels per page, speech and thought bubbles, onomatopoeias, captions). How do we “read” these features and what do they mean?

  •  Make up your own superhero name. Draw yourself in character. Label the special features of your costume.
  •  

    Design an illustrated panel or comic about overcoming one of your fears. Feature your superhero avatar from the previous activity. Include some of the features from the text.

  •  

    On a picture walk, identify places and everyday objects found in the house. Make a class list of these words. Take notes in a personal dictionary or on a teacher-selected handout. Predict what the story is all about.

  •  

    As you read, notice the comic book features (multiple panels per page, speech and thought bubbles, onomatopoeias, captions). How do we “read” these features and what do they mean?

  •  

    What are you afraid of? How do you face your fears?

  •  

    Explore how a simple idea (“Could you get the mop from the basement?”) can transform into a creative story. As a group, revisit the story to retell and rewrite it in its simplest form.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • Health and Well-Being