Friday, September 14, 2012

The Last Superhero by Stephen Altrogge

Recommendation: *** (3 stars)

John Utticus Wagner II appears to be an average 8th grader. His days are filled with school and homework and occasionally ripping a tree out of the ground for a neighbor.  Junior, as he is known to his parents, possesses superhuman strength and descends from a long line of superhero's.  In this story, Coreopolis is being terrorized by Boom. This villain is blowing up bombs all over the city and it is time for the Wagner family to take action! After sitting on the sidelines for years, John's father, Orville is ready to take on Boom and save the city. With the help of John Utticus Wagner Sr., Orville and his son Junior secretly plan a middle of the night raid. It soon becomes obvious that Boom is actually after the Wagner family. He knows all about them and has planned for months to destroy them. Who is this super villian and will he succeed? You'll have to read the story to find out!

Positives: A fun storyline. Kids will laugh and enjoy the action scenes. I enjoyed the family dynamic, so great to see a a multi-generational family that worked as a unit and wasn't "dysfunctional." In spite of the disappointment John Sr. felt that his son couldn't be the next great Wagner superhero, he didn't give up on him, still treated him as a son.

Negatives:  Orville (dad) did deceive Eleanor (mom). He made her believe that he would not go after Boom when he had every intention of doing just that.

Talking Points: Talk with your kids about their reputation. Every action, every word, every thought is a reflection of our character. As they spend time with friends, what do they want to be known for? What kind of legacy do they want to leave? While the Wagner family certainly wanted to be known as a great superhero family, I think there were things more important to them than that. Grandfather, John Sr. was ultimately more concerned about his son (Orville) than he was about the Wagner name and Orville left a legacy to his son of never giving up, in spite of failures and disappointments. He also taught him that family, and people are of great value. Proverbs 22:1 tells us that our reputation is valuable, but Christ's reputation is of even greater value and as believers our words and actions should reflect Christ to the world. (Matt. 5:14, Gal. 5:23, Eph. 2:10, John 15).

Age Level: 10 years of age and up

I was given a free copy of this book for this review.

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