Superhero Joe and the Creature Next Door

Book review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
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Superhero tale offers sweet lessons about everyday fears.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Kids will learn about new neighbors, superhero powers, and tree houses.

Positive Messages

Things are not always what they seem. Keeping an open mind is important for experiencing unexpected surprises.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are simple but relatable for children. Adults are present and encouraging and show kindness.

Violence & Scariness

Superhero Joe imagines the new neighbor next door as a scary cartoonish monster, which could frighten very young children.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Superhero Joe and the Creature Next Door, the sequel to Superhero Joe (2011), is about fear of the unknown and explores how a kid with an overactive imagination might view a new neighbor.

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What's the story?

Superhero Joe, introduced in Superhero Joe (2011), has a new neighbor. From a distance, he looks like a big, mean, scary monster. Luckily, Joe has a few tricks up his sleeve: powers that not only help him feel stronger and more fearless but that also allow him to discover that things are not always what they seem.

Is it any good?

SUPERHERO JOE AND THE CREATURE NEXT DOOR is a sweet, funny story about facing your fears. Any kid can relate. With its hand-lettered text and lively ink-and-digital comic illustrations by Ron Barrett, it has the zip-zoom-boom of retro comics but with a universal lesson about the importance of working up the courage to try new things.

Kids (especially those who are shy, or who have an overactive imagination) will appreciate this vivid tale that taps into their everyday anxiety about facing fears or making new friends (what will people think? What will they say?). Parents will appreciate the positivity in the sweetness behind Joe's efforts to find some bravado to cross the yard and make a friend.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Familes can talk about keeping an open mind. What does it mean to keep an open mind when you try something new? Why is it a good idea? 

  • Have you ever been afraid to try something you'd never done before? What was it? Did you decide to try it anyway? If so, what was the outcome?

  • How do Joe's superhero powers -- his cape, his shield -- help him face a scary situation? Do you have any special objects that make you feel more courageous? What are they? How do they help you?

Book details

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