Batman & Robin Team Up!
Written by: Donald Lemke
Illustrated by: Ethen Beavers
Publisher: DC Board Books
Format: Boardbook, 7.5 x 6.5, 16 pages, Full Color, $7.99
In our house this book is a HUGE favorite. Why?
Perhaps the most critical age level reader is the emergent literacy learner, the reader who is too young to enter school but is beginning to have experiences and build schema about reading. The three year old I spend my time with is just such a guy. And if you ask him why this book is great he'll tell you: "Because they are friends and get the robot together, Katie!" Duh, of course!
This book gets requested just about every day. When not requested it is often found in his self-chosen pile of books for the day. Of course there is the obvious love for the superhero Batman and his super-cool sidekick Robin (who just so happens to be appearing on a popular animated TV show lately as well). Beyond that, however, there is the choice. He chooses this book over and over again.
For that reason, I thought it was important to take time to review a type of comic book I usually don't write about, a comic book board book for emergent readers. After all, emergent reading experiences set the stage for how a child will feel about reading when he or she gets to school. Made for their small little hands the board book is an excellent platform through which to introduce early readers to the comic book format.
Combined with this introduction to the comic book format and the board book's user-friendly tangibility for little hands a clear and quick message that makes kids smile is always helpful, and all of DC Comics/Capstone's early reader comic books include a message both parents and kids will appreciate. In this case, as our emergent reader has already shared with you, Batman and Robin are friends who defeat the robot together. Team Up! the title, "Team Up!" the message. Together they make for a positive reading experience for any emergent reader.
English Language Arts Elements of Story
Plots: One of the Joker's robots is wreaking havoc on Gotham city.
Characters: Batman, Robin, the Bot
Settings: the Batcave, the Batcar, Gotham City
Themes: Teamwork, Friendship, Good and Bad
Lesson Idea for Early / Emergent Readers:
A simple KWL chart (Know, Wonder, Learn) can accompany this and any other early reader comic book board book at home or at the library. Either verbally or verbally and visually (on a piece of paper) caregivers can ask students to walk through this three step-process.
Before Reading: "What do you KNOW about Batman and Robin?" This initial K column can be discussed verbally and/or verbally and visually.
Before / During Reading: "What do you WONDER about Batman and Robin?" The second W column can be asked and discussed both before or during reading, usually making for good prediction questions between pages if used during reading.
After Reading: "What did you LEARN about Batman and Robin?" This final column or question can solidify this emergent reading experience, and often makes it more memorable.
Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts ( in press, 2014). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.