Hey, it’s time for another round up of comics and graphic novels here in the rowhouse. Our co-op has just finished studying comics and it’s been fun to see the kids all hard at work on their own comics, sharing them with each other. As well, it’s been neat to see what the other parents have done with the topic, helping kids learn to understand panels, facial expressions, and how to make a character identifiable from panel to panel.
First up, both kids picked up The Stone Frog at the library for a quick read. This is the first TOON Books “chapter book.” It was an odd story with old-fashioned artwork reminiscent of Little Nemo. In other words, it took you way back to the start of comics. It had a sort of fairy tale dreamy quality to it about siblings who find themselves in a bizarre fantasy world. It’s a nice follow up to the rest of the titles from TOON Books and is a very easy read by chapter book standards. I hope they’ll be releasing more to keep it company on the shelf because right now I’m not sure what I would pair it with. With detailed black and white illustrations and such a throwback feel, I can’t think of anything quite like it for this age group. However, both of my kids’ love of TOON Books as a brand led them to want to try it and they both liked it.
Next, BalletBoy tried out the great Mouse Guard series by David Peterson, which I’ve known about for awhile but haven’t brought home for the kids until now. He didn’t end up loving it, but I have to warn readers by pointing out that I think this is partially because he also didn’t love Redwall. And Mouse Guard is, if it is anything at all, a graphic novel homage to Redwall. Medieval mice and lush, colorful artwork make this an appealing series for fantasy lovers, especially animal fantasy lovers, to try out. There are currently two volumes widely available with a third coming out in a few months.
Finally, I am not usually a huge fan of graphic novel retellings of books. I can appreciate that some people like them and get something out of various condensed versions of classics, but unless a version is especially good, then I’d rather wait until the child is ready for the real thing. However, when I saw the artwork for the Oz series, I fell in love and knew it would be an exception for me. Mushroom got the first three volumes for Christmas and is really enjoying them. The art contributes a lot to the story and helps break free of either the original Denslow illustrations or the imagery of the film to create an Oz with a different feel. The series is published by Marvel, so kids used to the slick graphic novels Scholastic is producing may find them to have a different feel. However, these are definitely a good option if you have comics-lovers like mine.