Friday, October 17, 2008
Raw Junior sent me three new easy reader graphic novels and they are mighty impressive. The high production value is evident in the sophisticated color, the heavy paper and color saturation, and the old-fashioned endpapers. Visually, they’re real gems. And I have no doubt that kids will be drawn in, and willing to follow the visual clues when/if the text is too advanced.
Both MO AND JO FIGHTING TOGETHER FOREVER, and STINKY are in portrait format -- a good draw for a beginning reader who wants a book with a more “advanced reader” look. (Judging by my own kids, the cover and format are important.)
I loved both the pictures and plot of STINKY by Eleanor Davis. Stinky is a swamp monster who likes everything smelly and slimy, and believes that kids “don’t like mucky mud, slimy slugs or smelly monsters…” until he (or she? Is Stinky Seymour gender neutral?) meets a boy named Nick. STINKY is rich in detail, including funny forest animals with clothespins on their noses, and a map of the swamp. And the friendship between Nick and Stinky is sweet without being sentimental.
A first glance of Spiegelman’s JACK AND THE BOX tells you that it is for the youngest reader. It’s in a landscape/picture book format, the vocabulary is the most limited of the three books, and the protagonist, Jack, is a boy-bunny.
Jack receives a talking toy Zack-in-the-box. Zack comes completely out of his box, and sprouts (from the top of his head) a guy named Mack. Mack has a pet duck. And the duck has lots and lots of little ducks, which all leads to havoc, CAT IN THE HAT style.
Near the end of the story, Zack is back in his box and quiet (he doesn’t talk when adults are around). And Mack and his ducks are safely out of sight. Jack proclaims Zack to be just a silly toy. But on the final page, Mack and the ducks are back, and Zack looks like the lunatic loose cannon that he is.
Can Zack really talk? Or is that just Jack's imagination? Some kids will find Zack scary/cool, and some kids will find Zack simply scary.