Every parent wants the best for their children, and as Batfans, we know that the best is Batman. But what if your four-year-old isn’t ready for Arkham Asylum? Surely, there must be a way to
indoctrinateeducate our little Girl and Boy Wonders that doesn’t involve night terrors and a premature distrust of clowns (but seriously, you should stay away from those creeps). Never fear! We’re here to tell you about some kid-friendly Bat-books that might just make grown fans smile, as well.
I first encountered the fine folks from Downtown Bookworks at New York Comic Con 2015, and I fell in love with their stuff on the spot. They have high-quality board books featuring classic images taken straight from the comics of yesteryear. With titles such as Even Super Heroes Sleep, Super Heroes Have Friends Too!, and Colors, Shapes, and More!, your child is sure to enjoy the colorful, dynamic poses of their favorite heroes, while learning to become the sort of competent, well-adjusted citizens that stay on the Dark Knight’s good side. You can buy starter kits that bundle several titles, or if you’re interested in starting slow, here are some good places to jump in:
The Big Book of Superpowers
My favorite thing about Downtown’s DC line is that they go deep. Not only does The Big Book of Superpowers give us great art and background on the big hitters of the Justice League, but it also wraps things up with spreads on Plastic Man and the Atom. Even parents are likely to learn something new, as I did when I met Streaky the Supercat, Kara Zor-El’s metafeline companion. Filled with beautiful, blown-up artwork and plenty of background on some of DC’s best heroes, The Big Book of Superpowers is the perfect book for your young readers—provided they can pry it out of your hands.
The Big Book of Girl Power
Bumblebee is in this book! Bumblebee! Like the other Big Book in Downtown’s collection, The Big Book of Girl Power draws from a variety of super heroes, both prominent ones and those less mainstream. Not keen on your young one asking about Starfire’s lack of clothing? A number of the pages in this collection feature new artwork by Scott Kolins, presumably to avoid the more sexualized imagery that tended to shape the history of some of these characters. Each hero’s page concludes with a highlighted virtue, focusing—for the most part—on those qualities that are less about super abilities and more about courage, perseverance, and good decision-making. This Big Book is an uplifting look at heroism for your daughters and nieces, as well as a helpful alternate perspective for little boys who think that women are only there to meet their needs.
My First Batman Book
A touch and feel experience that instructs your child in the basics of Batman lore, My First Batman Book is a great introduction to both the printed word and vigilante justice. With pages on secret identities, the Bat family, and much more, your Tim, Dick, or Jason will be an expert in no time.
Colors, Shapes, and More!
This one was under the Christmas tree for my youngest son last year. After looking through Downtown’s offerings at New York Comic Con, I settled on Colors, Shapes, and More!. In addition to being a great way to learn colors and shapes, it has delightful artwork throughout. It also introduces things like the Bat Signal, Green Lantern power batteries, the key to the Fortress of Solitude, and more. Also-also, it has a page featuring Firestorm, Doctor Fate, and a blue-collared Sinestro (!!!!). I can think of no finer way to teach your Boy Wonder or Wonder Girl (she’s in here, too) about such fundamental concepts.
But wait, there’s more!
Downtown has a number of other books, exploring topics like sleep, friendship, letters and numbers, and more. You can find them on Amazon or at other booksellers, or ask your local comic book shop about getting some in. The folks behind these books clearly love the source material, and it shows on every page. Pick up some of the Downtown Bookworks DC Super Heroes books and help foster a love of all things DC in a new generation. Be sure to keep up with Downtown on the web at www.dtbwpub.com.