"The Bottom Line: A good book for struggling readers who want to read more about Batman and his crazy villains.
JediKermit's Full Review: Scott Sonneborn - Killer Croc Hunter Okay, so Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter titles are both dated and in poor taste. But when the latest Batman reader my sons picked up is Batman: Killer Croc Hunter, it was the best I could do. My sons, now ages 6 and 8, are both big Batman fans, and they've been working their way through a series of readers from Stone Arch Books starring the Dark Knight. Chapter books that run about fifty pages long, with easy to read text, large full color pictures, and glossaries and discussion questions, they take a character kids love and turn it into a learning experience.
Killer Croc is one of my least favorite Batman villains. He's all brawn and no brains, once a pro-wrestler with a weird skin condition that got him nicknamed "croc." He's nearly impervious to weapons, but aside from some super strength, that's really all he has going for him. He's dumb as a brick, and doesn't have a tragic enough backstory for me to care about what happens to him.
In Batman: Killer Croc Hunter, he finally does something smart. Goodness knows Gotham City has its share of villainy happening all the time, and some of that falls into the category of "silly villains." Characters like Kite Man, Polka-Dot Man, and The Penny Plunderer are costumed, crazy, but ineffectual bad guys who are obsessed with uh, kites, polka-dots and coins. Killer Croc's Big Idea is that he can just follow those idiots around, beat them up after they commit their crimes, and steal their loot. It works well for a while, until Batman intervenes during an attack on Kite Man. The Dark Knight and the Dork Kite (just made that up!) team up to stop Killer Croc, setting an elaborate trap that might take care of their reptile infestation for good.
My boys have liked the other books they've read in this series, and have two others upstairs right now. The story by Scott Sonneborn is straightforward, but with enough red herrings for a book meant for third graders. Illustrations by Lee Loughridge follow the style established in Batman: The Animated Series, and look like they could have been taken from the last seasons of that program. It's a classic Batman story, and uses the obscure characters like Kite Man and Penny Plunderer to good effect.
The appendix includes the Gotham City Police Department profile on Killer Croc (real name: Waylon Jones), biographies on the author and artist, and a twelve word glossary for words that might be new to young readers. I like the discussion questions and writing prompts, and have used them to talk with my boys about some of the ideas in the book.
These books are simple enough for young readers, but interesting and engaging enough for fans of Batman. We first discovered them when my older son was struggling with reading, and these high interest books hooked him. If you've got someone who thinks they don't like to read, or thinks they can't, give Batman: Killer Croc Hunter a try.
http://www.epinions.com/review/Book_Killer_Croc_Hunter_Scott_Sonneborn/content_527399489156" - Epinions.com
October 10, 2010