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While this introduction to Batman pays plenty of homage to the original comic's noirish aesthetics, Cosentino (The Marvelous Misadventures of Fun-Boy) makes two astute concessions to the sensibilities of his target audience. First, Batman's face and body is less chiseled and angst-ridden than the characterizations aimed at older readers; he's still the Dark Knight, but he's also less remote. Second, Cosentino unfolds the story largely through a series of double-page and single-page drawings composed from a straight-on perspective; by not breaking up the action, by eschewing a more cinematic presentation, the artwork enthralls but does not overwhelm. The text, written in Batman's voice and set in traditional comic book fonts, is both hard-boiled and reassuring: "In the dark of the night, criminals think they can get away. They are wrong." Some elements are scary (the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents, the disfigured villain Two-Face), and some readers may bemoan the omission of Robin. But for kids already acquainted with the animated Batman or his action-figure counterpart, this is a gripping, sensitive celebration of superherodom-and an outstanding introduction to the joys and narrative power of classic comics. Ages 3-5. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.