Starring a creative, boisterous young man and his favorite action figure, Super Boy’s Adventurous Imagination, by Kelly De La Cruz, encourages kids and their families to embrace imaginative play as the glorious learning tool that it is. Unfortunately, problematic illustrations combined with poor copyediting overshadow the book’s worthy – and playful – message.
Super Boy is the favorite toy of our young hero, who in turn is his mother’s favorite Super Boy. While the toy’s super flying cape and super flying gear (and the little boy’s dress-up cape) are washed and dried, the boy and his mom make up adventure stories to pass the time. In this way, common daily events and challenges – a toy breaking, a favorite costume or toy needing to be washed or mended – are seamlessly transformed into opportunities for storytelling and play.
Despite this wise and powerful concept – if ever there were a parenting superpower, this is it – Cruz’s storybook, unfortunately, isn’t successful overall. It’s often hard to follow: For example, in the first few pages of the book, are we reading about the boy or the toy? Inconsistencies in punctuation, point of view and tense add to the reader’s sense of confusion. One sentence reads: “That’s why I have falling down and broken my bone.” This makes for an adventure that presents many obstacles to enjoying the fun. Finally, the childlike illustrations are colorful but lack variety, visual clarity and the sense of surprising playfulness the book is intended to celebrate.
Super Boy’s Adventurous Imagination, as it is, lacks an essential element of fine storytelling for children: a thorough editing for narrative and technical clarity.
Also available in hardcover.