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Hero Dad

Hero Dad

4.6 3
by Melinda Hardin, Bryan Langdo (Illustrator)

A boy compares his father, a U.S. soldier, to a superhero.


A boy compares his father, a U.S. soldier, to a superhero.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A letter from Dad, who is deployed in the Middle East, prompts the young narrator to muse on what his father is going through and how he represents a better breed of superhero. "He doesn't carry a laser gun--he carries a rifle," declares the boy, as readers see soldiers on patrol in the desert. Holding a photograph of his father and his comrades standing proudly by their tank, the boy explains, "He doesn't have a sidekick--he has a platoon." Hardin, a debut author, lucked out with Langdo (Diamond Jim Dandy and the Sheriff): her minimal, confident text is in perfect sync with the khaki and fatigue-hued combat scenes. The bold, austere visual aesthetic conveys a sense of resolve reminiscent of classic war posters and inspires some particularly striking spreads: in one, a march is cropped down to show only boots on the ground. The superheroes of graphic novels and TV will always have a hold on kids' imaginations, but Hardin and Langdo make the persuasive case that in real life, heroism is defined by unwavering bravery, duty, and vigilance. Ages 3–8. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Della A. Yannuzzi
Superheroes come in many forms. They can be astronauts, sports players, or fictional characters such as Superman, but author Hardin's first picture book is devoted to a special kind of superhero called Army and Hero Dads. This picture book story is written in first person, and told through the eyes of a young child whose dad is a soldier. Author and illustrator compare other superheroes to the child's father through words and pictures: what Army Dad wears, his equipment, and his duties as a soldier. Instead of wearing rocket-propelled boots, the child's Dad wears army boots or jumps from planes ("He can't fly—well, sometimes he can.") Army Dads/Heroes don't have X-ray vision, but they do wear night-vision goggles. And although Dads don't drive super-powered cars—they do drive tanks. And most importantly, Army Dads sometimes have to go away for long trips, but that's what superheroes have to do. The comparisons between other superheroes and superhero Dads is what moves the book along to its final conclusion—that this child's Dad, an American soldier, is his superhero. The illustrations are mainly in subdued browns and greens and largely support the slim text. The author does a nice job of trying to lighten a military child's burden when a parent has to leave his family to serve his country. Reviewer: Della A. Yannuzzi
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—This sunny picture book opens with the stirring words, "My dad is a superhero." However, readers soon discover that he is not a caped crusader: he is a United States soldier in fatigues. As the proud boy explains, Dad has real-life corollaries to the traditional superhero accessories, for example, a rifle instead of a laser gun. The illustrations often flesh out the child's vision. The words on one spread, "He can't fly—well, sometimes he can," are accompanied by a picture of Dad and his buddies parachuting from a plane. The bright, cartoon artwork makes the book child-friendly and evokes superhero comic books. Meanwhile, the luminous watercolors make the difficult subject matter approachable for young children faced with separation from military parents. Hardin's first-person narrative helps them voice their own feelings, and reassuringly, this dad comes home. For most collections, especially those serving military communities.—Mary Landrum, Lexington Public Library, KY
Kirkus Reviews

What makes a superhero? Dad doesn't wear rocket-powered boots; he wears army boots. He doesn't have x-ray vision; he has night vision. He doesn't wear a cloak of invisibility; he wears camouflage. Hardin leads the reader through eight attributes of this hero Dad,whom readers see as a soldier in the desert, jumping from a plane, riding in a tank, hanging with his buddies: "He doesn't have a sidekick, he has a platoon." Langdo's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations have an appealing simplicity and texture, almost as if made by the boy narrator himself. The penultimate picture shows Dad walking toward his home, a yellow-beribboned tree prominentlyfeatured, and his buoyant family. The final page echoes the first, just dad and his young son, with this conclusion in bright red: "My dad is a hero, my superhero." The boy and his family have coffee-with-cream–colored skin and dark hair, though no specific ethnicity is indicated. An important message, delivered with effective straightforwardness and an abundance of heart. Next, can we please have a Hero Mom to make a matched set? (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.20(d)
AD610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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Hero Dad 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing read on so many levels. 1- it's a great first reader for young children learning how to read and 2- it's the perfect way to make sure your children KNOW and appreciate how special daddy is, even when he's off being a superhero.
MilitarymomJS More than 1 year ago
This is the perfect book for any military family! The pictures are beautiful and the message simple yet profound. My children love reading about a father like theirs.