Tuesday 28 April 2020

My Superhero

My Superhero by Chris Owen, illustrated by Moira Court (Fremantle Press) HB RRP $14.99 ISBN: 9781925816464

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Superheroes may be ‘tall and very muscly’, with the ability to ‘see through solid walls quite easily’ and ‘dive deeper than a submarine’, but the young narrator’s superhero – their dad – is not like that at all. He climbs trees to rescue them ‘with perfect ease’, he gives hugs that make them feel like they are ‘protected by a coat of steel’ and, best of all according to the narrator, ‘he reads me books!’

Chris Owen’s rhyming couplets dance off the tongue when read aloud, keeping the child listener entranced with every syllable. Although there are two spreads about superheroes for every one spread describing the father, it is clear to the audience that the narrator places their dad above all others – phrases such as ‘my favourite’ and ‘I love it when …’ highlight the importance of the personal connection between father and child.

Turning the idea of a human superhero on its head, Moira Court’s masked characters are all taken from the animal world. Her choice to reserve warm oranges and browns for the spreads devoted to the father’s special skills is a clever one, as it immediately infuses these pages with a unique tenderness.

Chris Owen and Moira Court’s charming ode to the power of dads is being released in board-book form just in time for Father’s Day. My Superhero is perfect for quiet moments at home, when Dad ‘is close at hand to comfort me’.

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