Finally. Finally! I’ve been waiting with some frustration for some publisher to make some more good early reader comics. The market is now swimming in amazing chapter book level graphic novels as well as many good wordless graphic novel options, but there are fewer options for early readers. A bunch have come out, but some of them are so insulting to young readers. Seemingly many publishers think that just putting anything out there with the words “graphic novel” on it is enough. I’ve seen a couple of decent individual titles, but the big winner up to this point has been Toon Books, who publish the award winning Benny and Penny titles, as well as many others, including my personal favorite Stinky by Eleanor Davis. Also, they have an amazing website, which is a nice perk.
But I just discovered some more great options! Balloon Toons is a newish early reader graphic novel imprint from Blue Apple Books. They have five titles so far with four more due out in the next year. Mushroom and I read a couple of them and we’re in love. Seriously. I have never seen him laugh while he read a new book himself. So this is a high recommendation.
The first title we read was Rick and Rack and the Great Outdoors by Ethan Long. The art is simple and bright with thick lines. It contains three slightly silly stories, a bit like reading three comic strips. That was good, but even better was the zany book Adopt a Glurb by Elise Gravel. The art was purposefully messy with a red and black focused color scheme. There is no story to speak of. It’s basically an ad for keeping the strange little creature the glurb as a troublesome pet. Mushroom cracked up when he read about getting the glurb tiny diapers and washing them in vinegar and cranberry juice.