Rummanah Aasi
   I was never a big fan of Superman. To be honest, I'm more of a Batman girl. Superman is just way too nice and proper. There is no edge or angst to him. I mean to have your alter ego be a meek, newspaper reporter who combs his hair differently and puts on a pair of glasses as your disguise, come on! I never understood how people in the comics and other adaptations didn't put things together. Needless to say, I do catch an episode here and there of Smallville, seen the Superman movies, and was avid watcher of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Can you really blame me when it's Dean Cain and Tom Welling playing the lead?  When I saw The Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman on the Bluestem reading list, I realized that I knew nothing about the history behind Superman and decided to read it.

Description: In this nonfiction picture book, the story of how two Cleveland teenagers, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, came up with the idea and created Superman.

Review: The Boys of Steel is a good introduction to the history of comic books to younger readers. The book begins with a cultural setting of The Great Depression as well as the personalities of Siegel and Shuster. Though I doubt children will completely understand how socially awkward the writer and illustrator were, but I think they would understand it through the illustrations. The illustrations are great: they are colorful and convey the message simply and directly. The only fault that I found with the picture book is that I found the afterward much more interesting than the main story as a whole. The picture book ends with a happy ending in which Siegel and Shuster find a publisher to publish the Superman comics. The afterward, however, details the legal and business struggle that Siegel and Shuster had in gaining the copyright and royalties of their creation. I can understand that explaining these technical terms to children in a picture book is hard to do, but I think it's wrong to give the children the impression that all is well when that's far from the truth. Overall though, I did enjoy the book and learned new information about the creators of Superman as well as new history of the comic book industry. 

Rating: 3 stars

Words of caution: None. I'd recommend it to Grades 1 to 3.

If you like this book, try:  The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino  
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