Sunday, October 12, 2008

Review: Toon Books

JACK IN THE BOX by Art Spiegelman (the Pulitzer Prize winner for MAUS) Summary: Jack just got a new toy, and it’s full of surprises. Each time the box pops open, there’s a new and bigger surprise. Is it a silly toy, a scary toy...or something else entirely?With a limited vocabulary and unlimited imagination, Art Spiegelman applies his out-of-the-box thinking to a book that has all the surprise and bounce of a Jack-in-the-box.

Summary: Stinky is a monster who loves pickles and possums but is terrified of people. When a new kid enters his swamp, this adorable little monster comes up with all sorts of crazy plans to scare him away. But Stinky quickly learns to conquer his fear, as he realizes that bats, rats, and toads aren’t the only friends you can find in the swamp.

This hilarious and heart-warming story by ferociously talented newcomer Eleanor Davis proves that even monsters can make new friends…warts and all!

MO AND JO FIGHTING TOGETHER FOREVER by Dean Haspiel and Jay LynchSummary: MONA AND JOEY CAN'T STOP FIGHTING! When the Mighty Mojo decides to give his powerful costume to them, these argumentative twins fight so much they rip it in half. Now each one is only half as strong! Can Mo and Jo find a way to combine their powers, fight the evil Saw-Jaw and save their town?

Two master cartoonists, writer Jay Lynch and artist Dean Haspiel, create a loving, tongue-in-cheek superhero tale where the kids’ biggest battle is just learning to get along.

When I was recently contacted about TOON BOOKS, a line of comic books that help kids learn to read, I knew I was interested. I have a son who is four and very interested in books and learning how to read (wonder where he got that?) My initial thought, without even seeing the books, was that this is a wonderful concept! Comic books have lots of detailed pictures with few words -- just like an early reader book. I also thought that boys might be attracted to comic books and these types of stories.

After reading these books quite a few times, I can now say that I LOVE THESE BOOKS! And not only am I huge fan, but my son thinks these are terrific books too. The pictures are colorful and full of action so there's a lot for him to look at. In addition, these books have simple words and easy-to-read dialogue. He wants to look at them (and have me read them) over and over again. What amazes me even more is that he fully grasped all of the stories. When I asked him some questions about the stories (even a few days later), he could tell me details that I even forgot.

I was fortunate enough to receive three books from the Fall 2008 Line -- JACK AND THE BOX, STINKY, and MO and JO. All three of these books were hardcover and just the right length for kids learning to read. I liked that two of the books were even divided into very small chapters so as not to intimidate an early reader. All of the story lines were geared to young children and filled with lots of humor! There were even a few good lessons thrown in! I thought they were just perfect.

There are three other TOON BOOKS that I have to get my hands on! I am certain that my son will love all of these too. It's clear to me that books like these will definitely encourage kids to read (even the most reluctant ones.) If you have a young child who is ready to read, you have to take a look at this series!

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