Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker; illustrated by Eda Kaban, 2016
(Ages 3 – 8)
Superheroes are gifted with powers to help others, but what happens if they are in a bad mood? “They could use super-powers to kick, punch, and pound. They could shriek – they could screech with an ear-piercing sound.” Hmmm sound like anyone you may know? Superheroes in a bad mood, sure sound a lot like an enraged toddler throwing a tantrum. Following a similar formula to Jane Yolen’s How Do Dinosaurs series, this book shows how superheroes could behave very badly when they are upset, but luckily they find coping skills to avoid disaster and get on with their day.
My four-year-old son was completely engaged with the illustrations and loved looking at all the different superheroes and their various abilities. Even though the female superheroes show a little too much skin for my liking, I did love the the diverse cast of characters. I was happy to see that the superheroes came in all shapes, genders, and colors.
The vocabulary is a bit advanced for young children, but the rhymes flow nicely and it provides a good opportunity to introduce some new language. This book also serves as the perfect introduction to a conversation about feelings. It is impossible for a child (or anyone for that matter) not to get upset from time to time, but it is important for children to understand that while it is natural to be sad or mad, it is not acceptable to throw a tantrum. I love this quote from the book, “It’s okay if they frown. It’s okay if they sigh. It’s even okay if they slump down and cry. But then they get up and get on with their day…saving the world in their most super way.” As children are just becoming aware of their feelings, it is important to validate their emotions, but also encourage them to identify ways to overcome feelings of anger and frustration.
This book inspired my son and I to brainstorm some ways that he could calm down when he gets upset, like take a deep breath and count to three. It was a great conversation that came very naturally after finishing the story. Feelings aside, it’s also fun to ask your child what super powers they would want if they could choose.