Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring in-Toon Books

It's beginning to feel like spring and in the California deserts, we are seeing the beautiful affects of the drought-busting winter rain (click here for some seriously beautiful "super bloom" images).

At the risk of sounding corny, gardens and deserts aren't the only places blooming, check out Toon Books' spring line up for some spectacular new reads.

Something's Fishy (Easy-To-Read Comics, Level 1) by Kevin McCloskey, 2017
"Kevin McCloskey blends science, art, and comedy to reveal the true story behind the common goldfish (from the publisher)."


Can learning be fun? Of course! If you're in doubt, check out McCloskey's latest nonfiction title for early readers in Toon Books "Giggle and Learn" series.

"Welcome to Fish School!" A young boy and girl offer instruction to their pet dog, cat, and parrot on the characteristics of fish.

McCloskey's illustrations are large and detailed and combine watercolor outlines with elaborate, detailed scientific illustrations.  Young readers will love the humor and find this uncluttered book easy to read and a perfect stepping stone to more detailed and fuller treatment books on pet fish care.

Word Play by Ivan Brunetti. Easy-to-Read Comics. Level 1. May 2, 2017

"Go "outside,” “elsewhere,” and down the “rabbit hole” with this hilarious introduction to compound words (from the publisher)."

A teacher asks her students to define compound words. As students offers examples, one girl laughingly imagines what these words would look like. Could  a house fly (housefly)? Or a home get sick (homesick)? Is a hand handy (handyman)? See the panels below for "homework."

Throughout that day, the children engage in compound word play as they go through the school day with their friends and at home with their family.

The illustrations consist of panels for the narrative and full page illustrations for the humorously imagined compound words. The diverse children are flatly rendered and made up of geometric shapes with oversized heads. Bright and muted colors mix well with uncluttered panel, making the story accessible. This is a  clever and humorous way to introduce a rich vocabulary of compound words to young readers. A Teacher's Guide will be available soon.

Fall 2016 titles I forgot to review.


Benny and Penny in How to Say Goodbye
​TOON Level 2
by Geoffrey Hayes

"Penny finds a dead salamander, but her brother Benny doesn’t want anything to do with it. Is it silly to have a ceremony for Little Red, or could the loss of this tiny animal mean much more to the lovable siblings? With his unique knack for portraying children’s emotional turmoil, Geisel Award-winner Geoffrey Hayes shares this gentle tale of an early encounter with death (from the publisher)."

In this simple and beautifully illustrated story, Geisel Award winner Geoffrey Hayes' beloved characters gently guide children through the process of grief, guilt, and remembrance. A highly recommended story with a unique approach (graphic novel) for helping young children cope with the difficult and painful feeling surround death and loss.

Please visit the publisher's website for an author interview, teaching materials, and more.


Ape and Armadillo Take Over The World TOON Level 3 by James Sturm

"How much fun would it be to take over the world? Armadillo is trying to come up with a plan for global domination...but with every new idea, being a bad guy seems a little less fun. Young readers will delight in star cartoonist JAMES STURM ‘s tender depiction of how far a true friendship can take you (from the publisher)."

Two friends struggle with what's fair or not in their imaginary games. Ape does not want to be the "bad guy" while Armadillo gets to do the "fun stuff." When Armadillo''s new plan becomes too frightening, Ape disappears. Later,  he explains to Armadillo why he left and why blowing up the world it isn't just a game to him. The two collaborate together to devise a new game,  with roles and goals acceptable to each.

Strum's large, uncluttered, and colorful panels are perfect for new readers.

Bonus Comics, i.e. banners running at the bottom of each page, add more humor and dimension to the characters.

A simple told but powerful story of how friends can negotiate and collaborate so that everyone's feelings are honored.  

And many thanks to Toon Books for allowing me to review their books and keep a copy for my school library.

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