There are a number of options in the market for DC kids’ books, but after looking at lots of them (I have three young boys), I’m convinced that there’s a clear leader in the field: Downtown Bookworks. I’ve been reviewing their DC Super Heroes line for years now, and they continue to impress with their clear love for classic DC characters and artwork. That, combined with inventive writing that treats children like real people, makes each release from Downtown a delight for all ages. And it’s my pleasure to share two of their most recent delights with you here.
The Big Book of Super Hero Bedtime Stories
If you’ve seen any of Downtown’s “Big Books,” then this will seem familiar in style: loads of classic artwork (largely from the Bronze Age), lots of characters—including Best Lantern Ever™ Guy Gardner, and plenty of useful tidbits of information about the wider DC Universe. Are your kids excited for the Shazam! film? Now they can learn what the name means.
What I love the most about Downtown’s stuff is what I mentioned above: they treat children like actual people with actual brains. This isn’t “kiddie,” dumbed-down stuff, and so if these characters capture your kids’ interest, then they’re likely to find enjoyment in these pages beyond the target years. And the book is made well enough that they could one day share it with their own children.
Girl Power Brain Boosters
The title of this book is likely to generate a few assumptions about the book’s content. “Girl Power” is a term, after all, that has different meanings to different people. I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean here: denigrating boys, embracing an oppressed/oppressor view of the world and male/female relations. It’s really a fun activity book to get girls thinking, all while taking them on a tour through some of the most colorful, compelling characters in fiction.
The “brain boosters” themselves use a number of formats, and those formats repeat throughout the book. That said, there’s enough variety in format that it doesn’t feel like they just copied, pasted, and tweaked. As with all of Downtown’s releases, there’s tons of excellent artwork (plenty of José Luis Garcia-Lopez), and lots of characters from all across the DC Universe.
Some of the puzzles could benefit from an example to demonstrate how things work, but even without that, they didn’t take too long for me to figure out. I’m an adult, though, so those puzzles in question might be a bit trickier for a child. Or maybe I’ve reached that age where my mind is losing steam, and the kids will run circles around me. I’ll leave you to speculate.
Still the best
We are sometimes accused of writing reviews that read more like advertisements. It’s hard to make the distinction sometimes, because we gravitate towards products that we love. A good review is much more fun to write than a negative one, after all. There are small things I would change if I were in charge, but in almost every respect, Downtown’s DC books are complete successes each time out. If you’ve got kids in your life, and you want to share these characters that we all love, I haven’t seen a better product.
Disclaimer: Batman News received physical copies of these books for the purpose of review.