#982 – How to Be a Hero by Florence Parry Heide and Chuck Groenink

howtobeaherocover How to Be a Hero
Written by Florence Parry Heide
Illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Chronicle Books  10/01/2016
40 pages   Ages 4—8

A Junior Library Guild Selection

“Once upon a time, there was a nice boy and his name was Gideon. He lived in a nice house, and he had nice parents and lots of toys.

“But Gideon wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to be a hero. You know, a hero, with his name on the front page of the newspaper. That sort of thing.

“So how does anyone get to be a hero, anyway?
You have to be strong.
You have to be brave.
You have to be clever.
Don’t you?

“With wry humor, Florence Parry Heide and Chuck Groenink explore how we choose our idols in a witty story that leaves the real nature of heroism for the reader to choose.” [INSIDE JACKET]

Fairy tales are full of heroes. Gideon knows of a few. A prince who climbed a tower by way of a young princess’s long . . . long . . . very long hair. Another hero became one simply by kissing a sleeping girl. A third just had to return a shoe to the right owner.
hero3Gideon is discouraged. He thought a hero was strong, brave, and clever, but none of the heroes he can think of did anything to be a hero. “They just had to be at the right place at the right time.” So Gideon decides to keep his eyes open for the right place and time. With open eyes is how Gideon sees a grocery store.

Gideon is hungry. A candy bar might taste good. And Gideon had his allowance. Gideon goes into the store. He is choosing a candy bar when a stack of apples falls to the floor, running right past Gideon. He steps on a rolling apple and it happens. Gideon is finally “in the right place at the right time.”
hero2How to Be a Hero begins with Gideon reading “Heroes of Myth” in his yard, looking small in a red cape. Look carefully and you will notice a man walking his dog. He just might need a hero later in the story. Gideon is bored with his non-heroic life. He wants to be a hero and claim all that goes with heroism, like “his name on the front page of the newspaper. That sort of thing.”

The pencil and Photoshop illustrations will win over kids and parents. In Gideon’s bedroom, where he practices sword fighting against his teddy bear—one maimed—drawings of heroes plaster a wall. As Gideon recalls his favorite stories of heroes, spreads change to dramatic shades and borders to represent the page Gideon reads. Every spread contains wonderfully detailed illustrations, which tell a smart story. Gideon places himself as the hero.
hero1The text is creative and humorous in all the right places. Gideon’s speech is spot on for a young boy trying to get his thoughts out in one breath.

“And the story where a witch gives a girl a poisoned apple and when she takes a bite she goes into a deep sleep which is sort of like being dead but not really and nothing will get her awake except a kiss and someone does see her sleeping there and he kisses her and he’s a hero, just like that.”

Little boys, who love heroes, whether super or prince-like, will enjoy How to Be a Hero. Little girls awaiting their hero will love Gideon’s assessment of heroes. The story is fun to read aloud. The images are fun to look at. How to Be a Hero will entertain both adults and children.

How to Be a Hero just may be a heroic picture book.

HOW TO BE A HERO. Text copyright © 2016 by Florence Parry Heide. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Chuck Groenink. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

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Find How to Be a Hero on Goodreads HERE.

Reprinted with permission from HOW TO BE A HERO © 2016 by Florence Parry Heide, Chronicle Books, Illustrations © 2016 by Chuck Groenink.




Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

How to Be a Hero
Written by Florence Parry Heide
Illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Chronicle Books 10/01/2016


5 thoughts on “#982 – How to Be a Hero by Florence Parry Heide and Chuck Groenink

  1. I find pretty much everything about this book and story appealing and will definitely keep an eye out for it, Sue! It looks like a typical great book by Chronicle. Thanks, Sue 🙂


    • I really love the first spread. It seems larger than life. Yep, Chronicle has such a great catalog. It must be difficult to get a publishing contract from them unless you are a genus author or illustrator. Maybe this should be tested out.


  2. Mom and I love How To… books. She is working on one right now. Hint: There’s a dog in it. Paws crossed that it doesn’t stay in the computer forever. We hope it gets out there and gets noticed and loved by somebody!

    Love and licks,


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