Reading Sheva's War to my 2-year-old

I had the Iron Empires graphic novels out in the living room (I’d been obsessively trying to track down passages explaining Mundas Humanitas theology…), and, as she has before, my two and a half-year-old daughter asked me about them. I explained that Faith was a brave soldier in armor that had a machine in it to make him strong, and that he had a cross sign on his shoulder; and that Lady Sheva was a brave soldier, but she just had regular armor.

And then, for the first time, my daughter said, “read it to me!” So I did.

What follows, in rough form, is a sampler of the toddler-friendly version of Iron Empires: Sheva’s War. (Warning: spoilers… after a fashion).

Here is a wicked bandit lady. She is talking with Philippe. Philippe used to be a brave soldier, but then he decided to be a wicked, tricky bandit.

Hardi and his daddy are riding in their farming machine. Then they hear a noise! Hardi’s daddy goes to look – a monster eats him! Oh no! Hardi drives away very fast to warn the soldiers.

Here is Lady Sheva. She is kissing this man. Then her husband Gepard comes. But she is angry at him, so she doesn’t kiss him.

Lady Sheva and all her soldiers put on their armor and go in their tanks. They find Hardi: Hardi is sad because the monsters took away his daddy. Then more monsters come! Everyone runs into the building.

Lady Sheva is very brave: She does not hide inside the building – she stands on top of the building so she can see better and tell the soldiers what to do. The monsters are coming! The soldiers shoot their guns and rockets and knock down a lot of the monsters. But more monsters are climbing up the building! One is trying to grab Lady Sheva! But Hardi saves her. Everyone runs out of the building.

Lady Sheva thanks Hardi for helping her. She kisses him…

I actually went through the entire graphic novel with her in this fashion. She was particularly puzzled by why Hardi and, err, what’s-her-name, had blindfolds over their eyes during the scenes of them being held prisoner. I explained that Philippe did not want them to see the wicked things he was doing, which seemed to satisfy her.

I do not look forward to trying to toddler-safe Faith Conquers, though. We might hide that one.

That was terrific! I was a little disappointed your retelling didn’t go all the way to the end, though. But fortunately the copies of both graphic novels I ordered arrived on Friday, so I know how it ends.

I just wish there were more of them. They are most excellent.

A postscript:

A few days later, my daughter started talking about someone named “Hardi” at breakfast, and after trying to figure out if this was some preschool classmate I hadn’t heard of, I suddenly realized this was Hardi from the graphic novel. As I recall the conversation, she and I agreed that Hardi was sad because monsters ate his daddy.

Ha ha! Great story Sydney. Read her my comic “JLA: A League of One”. It’s sweeter, and has mermaids.


Mermaids are scary. She saw a photo of P.T. Barnum’s hoax mermaid skeleton – the one made from half a monkey skeleton sewn to half a fish skeleton – and was so creeped out that her mother helped her cut out a face, birthday hat, and dress to paste over the appropriate parts of the picture.