In an alternate universe not adhering to the standard superhero back stories, Sidekick Elementary hosts super kids in their early elementary grades. With a number of familiar characters, including those from Teen Titans, in-jokes abound for those in the know. The books are composed of short stories with depictions of life at school as well as some one-off vignettes set around town. Many of the kids mimic the idiosyncrasies and relationships of their future super-selves, but the entire series is out of the standard timeline for all the characters.
Humor is key for each story, though many of the jokes will work better with knowledge of the superhero universe. I’m not sure that the intended age group of first and second graders will find everything as funny as an older reader would, but the silly stories and super quirky characters still hold a lot of appeal. The vocabulary used for the stories is also a little advanced, but that could spur readers into learning some new words like cyborg, charbroiled, and kryptonite.
Teachers can use the back sections of the books. These look at the depictions within the story. There are questions about interpreting the visual cues within the book, as well as some information on plot development. There is also a glossary, but it is too brief to be thorough.
The art is adorable, with cutie pie versions of heroes like the Flash, Aquaman, Robin, Raven, and more. The bright colors and simple, evocative drawings hold a great deal of appeal for that early elementary audience. It’s interesting to see the kiddie versions of well-known characters with such humorous tidbits as three different boys who are all Robin.
Sidekick Elementary seems like a entertaining school to attend, though I’m not sure a super villain principal could meet all of the required educational standards. While the series is aimed at the newest of readers, the fun might strike the fancy of slightly older students or their parents better.
Tiny Titans: Sidekick Elementary
Tiny Titans vs. the Fearsome Five
by Art Baltazar, Franco Aureliani
Stone Arch Books, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: 6-9