Batman’s Dark Secret by Kelley Puckett, illustrated by Jon J. Muth

Published by Scholastic

Summary: Young Bruce Wayne is fearless until one night when, after seeing a movie together, he and his parents walk down a dark alley on their way home. Bruce hears loud voices, then two bangs, and when he comes out of the alley he’s all alone.  He finds a new home in a big house in the country, but now he’s afraid of the dark.  One afternoon he falls asleep under a tree, and when he wakes up, the sun has set.  Terrified, he runs for home, only to fall down a deep hole into a bat cave.  He’s confronted by a monster bat, but discovers the courage within himself to fight it off.  From then on, he is never afraid again; the last page shows him grown up as Batman.  32 pages; grades K-2.

Pros:  What’s not to like about the Caped Crusader?  Jon Muth takes a break from Zen paintings to illustrate this tale with interesting contrasts of dark and light.  Based on the original story of Batman, this book is sure to please superhero fans.

Cons:  Although the action occurs offstage, there’s no denying Bruce’s parents are shot down in cold blood, which may be too disturbing for some younger readers.


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