Monday, January 12, 2009

A Little Hero in the Making

Following up on her book of manners for girls, A Little Princess in the Making, Emilie Barnes also offers A Little Hero in the Making, just for boys.

Drawing on the desire of some young boys to emulate comic book, sports, and other types of heroes, Barnes begins by saying:

"So are you ready to become a real-world hero? Got your cape tied on? Ready to become a little hero 'in the making'? Great! Let's get ready to fly...and master those manners!"

Every four pages then explores a different set of manners: helping at home (including using words like "please," "thank you," "excuse me," and "I'm sorry"), being a good playmate, meeting new people out in the world, hygiene, table manners, and having a brave heart.

For example, in the chapter on meeting new people, Barnes writes:

"Sometimes when you're out exploring your world, you might meet someone who looks or acts a little different. But inside, they are just the same as you. They deserve a hero's friendship, too!
The best thing to do when you meet anyone new is to smile at them and say 'hello.' You can shake their hand - that's a very grown-up thing to do...Heroes also show kindness to others by calling them what they would like to be called - Mr. Lawnmower or Mrs. Snapdragon or Dr. Sniffle. That shows kindness and respect - and it's very brave of you."

What I Like: I appreciate that Barnes is trying to instill manners in boys in a fun way. Michal Sparks' watercolor illustrations are charming, showing boys playing sports, wearing red capes, and wearing armor. I especially like the comic books pages in the book, showing young boys doing "heroic" (that is, polite) things.

What I Dislike: Barnes has taken the meat from A Little Princess in the Making and put a superficial slant of heroism on it. In other words, while Barnes did a great job of interweaving princess-like things in her book for girls, she does a poor job of making manners make sense with heroism. I also wish she'd more often cited scripture; she really does so only once, when she quotes the Golden Rule (but doesn't tell us it comes from the Bible). Sparks' comic book pages do a much better job of putting forth good manners in a way that appeals to boys; too bad there are only three pages of those comics in this book.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: 4 - 8

Publisher Info: Harvest House, 2007; ISBN: 0736919783; hardback; $14.99

Buy it Now from for $11.99,

OR buy it from for $10.19


Patti said...

I just wanted to say that I LOVE this site. I've only recently discovered it, though, so I've not been visiting very long. My children are now teens---how I wish there had been something like this when I was looking for books for them. Now, though, we are in the process of adoption, so we are once more refilling our library with children's books. Your reviews will be of great help.

Thanks so much.

Oh, and I shop alot through, so I will try to remember to click in through you. I have an Visa, which gives me 3 points for every dollar I spend with Do you know if clicking through you and thus providing you with a commission will negate the rewards points I receive?


Kristina said...

Patti, I'm glad you're enjoying the blog! And no, it should make no difference to your points if you choose to click through our Amazon links. Thank you!