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How to Be a Hero
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How to Be a Hero

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  376 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Once upon a time, there was a nice boy and his name was Gideon. He lived in a nice house, and he had nice parents and lots of toys. But Gideon wasn't satisfied. He wanted to be a hero. You know, a hero, with his name on the front page of the newspaper. That sort of thing. So how does anyone get to be a hero, anyway? Heroes have to be strong. Heroes have to be brave. Heroes ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Chronicle Books
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Average rating 3.28  · 
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La Coccinelle
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
This is a bit of a different book. I'm not sure how much younger kids would get out of it without some sort of discussion with an adult. But the message is interesting.

Gideon wants to be a hero, but the poor kid doesn't even seem to know what that means beyond getting accolades and having your picture in the newspaper. His ideas about being a hero seem to come mostly from fairy tales (rescue the princess, etc.). Eventually, he comes to realize that, often, being a hero often boils down to being
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone Looking for Entertaining New Picture-Books Exploring the Idea of Being a Hero
Gideon had a very nice life - nice parents, a nice home, nice toys - but he wanted something more. He wanted to be a hero. Unfortunately, all of the fairy-tales he had read - stories like Rapunzel , Sleeping Beauty , and Cinderella - had heroes who simply showed up at the right time and place, without doing anything particularly remarkable. So what made a hero, and how could he become one...?

I'm bemused to note that some online reviewers of How To Be a Hero have deplored its message, a
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hah! Explores the difference between hero and celebrity in a *very* funny way. You really have to read the pictures, too, as they not only tell part of the story, but they add more depth and more of Heide's trademark wit. Would be fantastic to use in a conversation about real heroes, fairy-tale heroes, sports & entertainment idols, and just plain celebrities.

Kissing the babysitter when she falls asleep? I don't *think* so....
K.J. Mecklenfeld
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved Chuck Groenink's illustrations (big fan here!).
Did not like the fact that Gideon is stabbing my teddy bear brothers with his wooden sword, but that didn't stop me giving 5 stars to a great book for 4-7 y.o. :-)
Alexandra Calaway
Feb 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
How to Be a Hero:

1. The only path to success is if you are a man and save a princess.

2. Don't bother to look around and help the people who need it (the girl and her cat in the tree, the mom who slips with a baby in her arms)

3. Literally just be privileged and use your money to buy what you want, get lucky and win a big award.

4. Are you F####### kidding me? What a disgusting, completely unimaginative book where the typical white male learns absolutely nothing at the end of the book.

5. I get th
Brian McLachlan
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a smart book (with rich illustrations)! It prompts the adult reader and child to have a discussion about what it means to be a hero. I agree with the idea that a good hero keeps their eyes open to the world, and while the protagonist may miss things, child readers are given a chance to see if they have what it takes to be a hero. Empowering in a very fun way!
Literary device: irony- The pictures and the words tell two different stories

Determining importance/inferring:
I can't wait to ask some kids
Is Gideon a hero?
What is a hero?
What is the author's point?
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Gideon is a boy who knows exactly what he wants and that is to be a hero. So he reads a lot about heroes and looks forward to having his picture in the newspaper. At first he thinks that in order to be a hero you need to be strong, brave and clever. But then as he reads more stories, he realizes that a lot of heroes just happen to be in the right place at the right time. So Gideon starts walking around looking for opportunities to simply step in and be the hero. One day at the grocery store, Gid ...more
Luisa Knight
I'm not sure what I think. I know it's supposed to be funny - and it kind of is - but at the same time, the boy gets the notion that being a hero is simply being in the right place at the right time. Which again, I think is just trying to poke fun at all of the roles the male characters have in the fairy tales.

Ages: 4 - 8

Cleanliness: the boy wonders if you have to kiss a girl in order to be a hero. He contemplates kissing his babysitter while she's asleep. A girl kisses him at the store.

**Like m
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pbf-general
I found this story hilarious. Gideon wants to be a hero, and decides he has to pay attention and keep his eyes open to what is going on around him. Does he do this? Well, not really...
Jul 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
I think this is the first children's book I've given one star. Young children don't understand satire and don't get the real message about being a hero. Had to go back and do a lot of explaining that the woman was the real hero. Message was totally lost. Bummer. ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm quite bothered by lots of the messages in this book, but the one illustration with the boy staring at all of the stores is lovely. ...more
Amanda The Book Slayer
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
"Gideon thought about how all those guys turned out to be heroes, and he decided they hadn't really had to do anything or be anything.

They didn't have to be strong.
They didn't have to be brave.
They didn't have to be clever.

They just had to be at the right place at the right time."

Or maybe...just maybe it takes a little bit more. ;)
Wonderfully subversive story about how to be a storybook-type hero! Kids reading this will recognize what's heroic and what may not be and will laugh a lot along the way. ...more
Totally the way I used to tell fairy tales, until the ending, which is a little morally bleak. Just a little though.
Meh, the illustrations were well done Gideon's kind of a dick. ...more
Ms Threlkeld
Jan 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I liked the humorous tone and the boy's recounting of various fairy tales, but the ending fell flat. ...more
Ashlyn Moore
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Summary- This is a book about a little boy named Gideon who wants to be a superhero. He has a specific idea on what a hero should be, and recalls various fairytale princes and heroes. He then realizes that heroes don’t have to be a specific kind of person with specific characteristics, but instead be at the right place at the right time, and pay attention. Gideon becomes a hero at the supermarket by being the 10,000th customer. He was at the right place at the right time, and was celebrated like ...more
Dec 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Hmmm... how to say what I mean about this one...
The artwork is great, the wry humor I dig and the point they want to make is something I was specifically looking for (for my grandchildren).

Without giving you a "spoiler" I'll say that it would make its point (about the characteristics that make a hero) better for youngsters if it said so directly instead of rely on the art to paint a different picture than the words themselves, which might mean it goes right over kids' heads. This is especially t
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous book. Subversive story.

Short summary: Kid wants to be a hero. Wonders what makes a hero. Decides that it's about being at the right place at the right time. Becomes the 10,000th person to buy something at a Super Market and gets his photo on a newspaper's front page. Thinks of himself as a hero. Meanwhile, a black female store assistant saves a baby in the background.

This story makes you question all the times that fairy tales say the prince who finds a slipper and returns it to an abu
Nancy Pants
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gideon thinks he wants to be a hero. But it turns out he really just wants to be a celebrity. Thinking about princes in classic fairy tales he realizes being a hero isn’t really about being strong, brave, or particularly clever— it’s about paying attention and being in the right place at the right time. Though this is true, the illustrations will help readers notice that Gideon missed the part about how real heroes help other people.

Likely best appreciated by children familiar with traditional f
Nov 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
I bought this at a used bookstore and it was a waste of $6. There is no moral or lesson to be learned - the kid clearly doesn’t understand what it means to be a hero and no one bothers to explain it to him. I guess it is supposed to be understood that the parents will explain things to their children, but what about those who don’t? Also, there’s a scene where the kid contemplates kissing his sleeping babysitter to see if that makes him a hero. He then decides not to, seemingly because his babys ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
the story is just too simplistic, and Gideon does not really do anything but be in the right place at the right time to become a hero.

maybe there is a lesson to be learned by his "not being a hero" when there was an easy chance for him to be such, but he was distracted by the candy bar. too bad
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations are so lovely and detailed, and the dramatic irony between the words and the pictures is just marvelous! It reminds us of what it actually means to be a hero, because sometimes the world around us might make us forget. If you follow the illustrations close enough, the ending is unforgettable.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great first book to teach children that the main character can also be an antagonist.

A nice little boy with a nice family wants to be a hero but doesn't wasn't to go through the terrible of actually doing something heroic. He's so focused on his task that he misses a big chance at heroism and settles for a less significant triumph.
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I LOVE that the pictures tell a different story. The boy wants to be a hero and says he is keeping his eyes open to look for people who need help. The picture shows him fixated on a candy store with four people around who could use help.
The ending was weird though. He was a "hero" for being the 10,000th customer...
Kathryn Bergeron
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was really disappointed by this book. I wasn't expecting to have to explain irony to my five year old. Here's a beautiful book son, that's full of exactly the opposite message I want you to hear. It would be better as a satirical book for adults. ...more
Lauren Paulsen
Gideon wants to be a hero, but how exactly does one become a hero? A quirky story with an interesting twist. Not what I was expecting, but rather amusing. Not for very young readers because of the tongue-in-cheek humour.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gideon wants to be a hero in the worst way. But what does it take to be one? After studying heroes in fairy tales, Gideon decides that being a hero is just being in the right place at the right time and keeping your eyes open. But is that really what it takes?

Great illustrations!
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