How to Become a Superhero (Davide Calì & Gómez)

Hello, friends! Our book today is How to Become a Superhero by Davide Calì and Gómez, a crime-fighting instruction manual for imaginative play.

So you’ve decided to be a superhero… where should you start? You’ll need a costume, naturally – but should you go for a cape or a mask? You should also probably decide on your superpower: flying? Super strength? Shapeshifting? You’ll need to sort out your transport, and choose a super-sidekick or pet. And of course, you’ll need a secret hideout! And once you’ve got all that figured out, the mighty missions that you take on are up to you! You may even want to team up with some super friends!

Cute but basic. As a handbook for superhero character creation goes, this title actually works pretty well, as it gives kids a checklist of superhero tropes that they can scratch off as they form a hero unique to them. This part was the most enjoyable for JJ and I, as we discussed what our costumes would look like, what our powers be would, etc. However, the book lacks much substance beyond this creation guide; there are no lessons on heroism, kindness, teamwork, or courage. There is a brief nod for the importance of school on the final spread, but this actually feels disjointed and superficial, given the airier tone that precedes it. And while the cast of kid heroes do vary in gender presentation and skintone, that’s about it. Otherwise, the length is fine for a storytime, and we did enjoy our read. I would recommend this one as a supplement to starting superhero-themed imaginative play, but I don’t see it having a lot of draw for repeat readings. Overall though, it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs (Davide Cali)


Hello, friends! Our book today is Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs, written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Raphaelle Barbanegre, a slightly strange little import that explores the plight of an overwrought caregiver.

You know the old story: a beautiful young girl, a wicked witch, a poisoned apple. Fleeing into the forest, Snow White finds a small home to shelter in, but not the one that houses seven dwarfs – no, this version houses SEVENTY-seven. Grateful for the dwarfs’ offer of shelter, she pitches in around the house: cooking, cleaning, brushing beards, etc. She quickly begins to get overwhelmed, however, especially when each dwarf requires a different bedtime story, they’re all picky eaters, and no one is willing to lend a hand at all! Snow White is rapidly losing her composure and patience, and this time, when she meets the witch in the woods with a poison apple, her answer may be a different one.

The issue with imports (this title was originally published in Italy) is that the humor doesn’t translate always as well as the art. Here, for instance, the end gag has a somewhat dark tone; that’s not to say it’s not funny, as it’s definitely a joke that parents will appreciate, but it may be confusing for little kids, especially to whom “poison” implies “deadly” or “lethal”. Indeed, anyone reading this needs to be familiar with the more classic Snow White story, or this reads as a very brief and somewhat dark book. On the other hand, the colorful, incredibly detailed and hilarious art is wonderful, and translates beautifully; Snow’s increasingly harried expression is especially humorous. The pace is fairly brisk, so it’s a quick read, and JJ enjoyed the colorful artwork. Overall, this is a good one for bookworms for a more mature sense of humor, be they caregivers or kids with a sharper sense of comedy, and in that regard, it’s Baby Bookworm approved.