Ask your students to draw their ideal hero incorporating the characteristics they have, whether it be the bulging muscles, flowing cape or courageous eyes. Ask them to think about the ‘hero figure' which mostly likely has been influenced by children's television and movie characters. Once all pictures have been drawn, in a show-and-tell session, ask each student to explain why they chose to draw their hero like this and one thing they admire about them.
Zac the Hero is based around the classic ‘hero's journey' structure which has been used for hundreds of years in countless stories, both children and adult alike. Ask your students to bring in their favourite adventure story where a hero embarks on a journey and ask them to describe to the class the type of obstacles the hero encounters; friends or foe they meet along the way; different places they travel to etc. Explain that Zac embarks on a similar type of journey. Ask your students to look out for each of these different places Zac travels to and the faces he encounters on the way. Some stories may be good to play-act out, with the teacher reading portions of the story as the students act out the action, which adds a valuable visual dynamic to the story.
Ask your students to examine several hero stories and see if they can pick out similarities in the structure of the story (ie hero/heroine called to the task, faces perilous obstacles, resolves situation by defeating adversity). There is usually a transition of location, personality, personal values etc from A to B as the hero undergoes the experiences of the journey. Ask your students to look as far back as folk tales, myths, even Biblical tales to the stories found today in movies and television and see how the basic formula of the hero's journey remains the same.
Compare different hero stories and see if this idea is present or if it has changed from old hero stories to contemporary ones.