William D. Smith’s Becoming A Superhero presents itself as a semi- autobiography or a series of folksy reminiscences set just before and after the end of World War II.
Many young people are pretty fuzzy about the details of the social, political and economic climate of World War II America. Fortunately for young readers, Smith has stepped in by cleverly creating a quirky child narrator William or as he prefers to be called, Billy, to close this information gap.
Billy is nine years old who lives in Coaldale, a small mining town in Pennsylvania who aspires to become an American superhero. He is quite appealing and resourceful, even if he is a little prone to accidents.
As our narrative unfolds, Billy decides that he can fly, just like his hero Superman. All he has to do is to put on a cape and jump from a ledge of a window. His alter ego, William, warns him not to try such a stunt, however, Billy is determined to prove his point and as expected, the repercussions are disastrous, as Billy winds up with very sore leg.
From here we follow Billy’s young life as he recognizes that becoming a superhero is not as easy as it seems and, as we read, it is packed with many events and mishaps such as being flattened up by someone who is considerably bigger than himself, nearly being arrested and night fishing in his camp’s outhouse.
Billy’s alter ego reminds him that that before becoming a superhero he must scrutinize his virtues as well as some new superhero rules, as slavery isn’t right, something he picked up from reading Huckleberry Finn, the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi that problems should be solved peacefully, the importance of deductive reasoning that is used by Dick Tracy in solving crimes, always to do the right thing as pointed out to him by his friend Louise and the Wizard’s rule in that you must have courage, a heart, and a brain.
Having Billy narrate the story through a series of recollections gives it an extremely intimate feeling, one which young readers can easily relate to and even wanting to experience more of him. There is also believability in that Billy’s family seem truly real with their blemishes while never losing sight of the emotional ties that unite them.
In addition, Smith has done an admirable job of interweaving his material as Billy shares his experiences of child growing up in America in the mid 1940s and at the same time learning something about ethics and values. In fact, the book even provides a provocative jumping-off point for further discussion of morals and principles.
Although Becoming A Superhero: Adventures of An American Superhero is billed as children’s literature, adults who grew up in America during the 1940s will also take pleasure in its reading as they can easily identify with many of Billy’s trials and tribulations and they will probably walk away with a smile on their faces. What is more, Smith’s dry humor permeates the story with a warm appreciation of the difficulties of ordinary family life during this era.
William Smith is in his forty-eighth year of teaching, first as an elementary teacher and subsequently as a teacher of prospective teachers. He is presently an adjunct instructor at Ocean Community College in Toms River, New Jersey where he teaches education and psychology courses.
The above review was contributed by: The Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com, Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L, Retired Title Attorney: Norm is also a travel writer and together with his artist wife, Lily, the couple meld Norm's words with Lily's art. To check out their travel site click on Sketchandtravel.comClick here to view Norm’s Reviews & Interviews.
Meet William D. Smith Author of Becoming A Superhero: Adventures of An American Superhero
Click Here To Purchase Becoming A Superhero: Adventures of An American Superhero Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest, William D. Smith’s Becoming A Superhero: Adventures of An American Superhero. William is in his forth-eighth year of teaching, first as an elementary teacher and subsequently as a teacher of prospective teachers. He is presently an adjunct instructor a
TV a-Go-Go: Rock on TV from American Bandstand to American Idol
Author: Jake AustenISBN: 1-55652-572-9The following review was contributed by: Kathryn Atwood: Click Here To View More Of Kathryn's ReviewsAccording to author Jake Austen, televised rock music is in some ways an impossible combination . . . and one that he absolutely adores. Rock music is essentially "wild, raw, and dangerous" but when Bo Didley first performed it on the Ed Sullivan show in 1955, television and rock music began a long partnership which proved, according to...
The Adventures of Traveling Bear
The Adventures of Traveling Bear is an exciting new children’s book series. Each of the fourteen books in the series focuses on “positive values and winning attitudes.”Complete with a read-along CD, these fun books will encourage young readers as they improve their reading skills while teaching and gently reinforcing important life lessons and values.Once one of these books is picked up and read for the first time, parents will know without a doubt this is a series their children are going to...
Ideas and Adventures (1200-1700)
Click Here To Purchase From Amazon Ideas and Adventures (1200-1700)Author: Sonia Seherr-ThossPublisher: Synergy BooksISBN: 978-1-933538-73-0 Sonia Seherr-Thoss went to Columbia University to study economics as well as being an avid collector of historical artifacts. Sonia worked in farming during her career for over twenty years as well as being an early pioneer of cultural photography. She received many awards and praise. She is the author behind works such as Design and Color in Islamic...
Adventures of Riley, Dolphins in Danger
Author: Amanda Lumry and Laura Hurwitz, illustrated by Sarah McIntyreISBN: 0-9748411-1-0Publisher: Eaglemont PressThe following review was contributed by James M. Curtiss"Teach your children well," sang Crosby, Stills and Nash, and that'sexactly what the Adventures of Riley series by Amanda Lumry and LauraHurwitz seeks to do by combining contemporary science with captivatingstory lines and beautiful illustrations.The Dolphins in Danger installment of Riley's adventures begins...
Their Way Home (My adventures as a Ghost Guide)
Click Here To Purchase Their Way Home Author: Melissa Van RossumPublisher: MetaPublishingISBN 13: 978-0-9792265-3-3ISBN 10: 0-9792265-3-8 I’ve always had a keen interest for things paranormal so this book appealed to me on many levels. Melissa Van Rossum is a physic who has seen ghosts for most of her life. Growing up be
Ideas and Adventures 1200-1700
Click Here To Purchase From Amazon Ideas and Adventures 1200-1700Author: Sonia P. Seherr-ThossISBN: 9781933538730 Ideas and Adventures 1200-1700 authored by the late five-time author Sonia P. Seherr-Thoss is quite impressive as it charts five centuries of important history that include the historic and cultural contributions of less well-known nations. Many history books omit to include insights on important past civilizations, and this is what makes this book extraordinary that will no...
The Adventures of Riley: Mission to Madagascar
Title: The Adventures of Riley: Mission to MadagascarAuthor: Amanda Lumry and Laura Hurwitz, Illustrated by Sarah McIntyre ISBN: 0974841129 The following review was submitted by: E.Dian Moore & To read more about Dian Moore’s reviews click HEREGet out your passports, located at the back of The Adventures of Reilly: Mission to Madaga
Pirate Spirit: The Adventures of Anne Bonney
Click Here To Purchase From Amazon Pirate Spirit: The Adventures of Anne Bonney Author: Jeffery S. WilliamsISBN: 9781583484678High school English teacher Jeffery S. Williams, who has worked as a journalist and freelance writer, cuts his creative teeth with his debut novel Pirate Spirit: The Adventures of Anne Bonney. The novel focuses on Anne Bonney, one of history’s most infamous female pirates, who along with another well-known female pirate, Mary Reade, plied their illegal trade in the...
Memoirs From Normandy: Childhood, War, and Life’s Adventures
Author: Armand IdracISBN: 0-9743158-5-0 The following Review was contributed by by Kathryn Atwood: Armand Idrac’s Memoirs From Normandy: Childhood, War and Life’s Adventures is appealing on many levels. It first caught my eye because of my intense interest in World War II history; the prospect of reading a French child’s perspective of the Normandy invasion was too much to resist. The chapter covering the invasion doesn’t disappoint. The particulars of one of the greatest...