By Dustin Cabeal
Having read the previous two books in the Capstone/DC kids books, I decided to give it one more shot because I really would love a kids Batman book that I could share with my son. The same problem persists in Batman is Trustworthy as it did in Be A Star, Wonder Woman and Bedtime for Batman. The message isn’t subtle and the equivalent of me just telling my child to do something while showing them a picture of Batman and saying the word “Batman” over and over.
Each two-page spread is just a defining quality of Batman and why someone or someones trust him because of it. It’s that simple. Just that over and over. It’s not particularly fun to read and since anyone that’s experienced kids know that you will end up reading a story over and over unless they dislike it.
It would just be nice if the messages were subtle and not hitting you over the head. Also, there’s the fact that the message and word “Batman” is supposed to be a stand in for parents and also the child, but it never manages to relay this to the reader/child accurately. Instead, it feels like a story all about how great Batman is, never once asking the child to be like Batman. That’s the real problem, the message is full of great stuff, but it’s never mentioned once that the kid should develop these traits and be just as great… which you’d think would be the point. Maybe I’m not giving kids enough credit but since it seems like it’s written for a small child and something I would read to my two-year old, I don’t know if I’m that far off the mark.
The artwork is fine. Unlike Be A Star, Wonder Woman! it relies heavily on Bruce Timm’s style. This time it pulls from The Adventures of Batman & Robin, which is not the best looking or most interesting animated series ever developed by the WB. For me, it’s the worst art style to pull from and also extremely dated in that kids today will have no connection, like zero out of hundred, with this material so why not just innovate and make a new look?
It’s unlikely that I’ll check out any more Capstone/DC kids books. I like the effort and would love for something of quality to come out that I could share with my son that enjoys both Batman and Wonder Woman, but so far it’s just been “copy and paste” messages. The most damaging thing about these books is that they write down to the audience and great kids books always write up. They write to kids as if they were the smartest and most important people in the world because that’s how every parent views their child. When you write down to them, you’re failing to achieve the very goal you set out to do, which is educate children.
Batman is Trustworthy
Writer: Christopher Harbo
Illustrator: Otis Frampton