I’m going to be honest: I am totally enamoured of Kyo Maclear. And if you’re into picture books that are just as much fun for adults to read as for children, then you’re going to be enamoured of her too.
The Good Little Book, illustrated by Marion Arbona, is, as always with the illustrators Maclear partners up with, beautifully drawn and visually engaging*. That’s not all, though; while I will concede that the story is not actually all that exciting – it talks about a boy who got into trouble and sits out his punishment in the library, where he discovers The Good Little Book – the details are what really charm the reader. The first thought I had while reading it was “THIS IS SO META!” (this is a good thing.), because as I’ve mentioned above, The Good Little Book features in The Good Little Book! Which, I think, is pretty cool. (Not that it’s the first book to do so, nor do I believe it will be the last. See, for example, Jenni Desmond’s The Blue Whale). And there’s more! By putting the book itself into the contents of the book, Maclear actually intimates that we, the reader, are part of the story: we are an extension of the image of all the readers who have ever read, who are reading, and who will ever read The Good Little Book.
If you have kids, you’re more than aware that summer vacation is just around the corner. Whether it’s during a long car ride or while relaxing after a busy day of fun, audiobooks are a summer indulgence everyone can appreciate.
In my house, humour and school stories fit the bill. The Wayside School Collection, read by the author Louis Sachar, combines the two wonderfully. This series of loosely connected chapters will resonate with anyone who remembers childhood and entertain with just the right amount of pure wacky.
For a step up on the zany meter, try Roald Dahl. The author’s does well narrating his own stories, but Jeremy Irons’ narration of James and the Giant Peach had me listening alone in a parked car long after I arrived at my destination.
Does your child love reading comics or graphic novels? Is he stuck on re-reading favourites and you’d like him to widen his reading scope? Are you happy that she is (finally) reading but would like to know more about these books that seem low on text and high on illustrations?
Consider picking up a copy of A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids’ Comics: Choosing Titles Your Children Will Love, or what I refer to as ‘life beyond Bone’. In fact, Jeff Smith, of Bone-fame, helped pen the enthusiastic foreword included in this guide.
The guide book is a trove of information delivered in a user-friendly format. Organized into four chapters based on grade level, featured titles are grouped by genre and make it easy to find books that appeal to your child. Every title or series reviewed has a concise summary, a HEADS UP section with alerts to challenging content, and a WHAT’S NEXT… section with recommended reading. The layout includes vibrant illustrations of covers and excerpts, which give you a feel for the style of each featured book.
I particularly appreciated the chapters dedicated to emergent readers in the preschool and primary grades, when interest in graphic novels is high yet finding the right fit for the reader is tricky.
The authors have succeeded in applying their extensive knowledge to create an easy-to-use resource parents can refer to again and again. Scott Robins, a Toronto librarian, and Snow Wildsmith, a former librarian, also have contributed to the Good Comics for Kids blog, another useful resource for graphic novel reviews.
Just a word of warning, if you share this book with your young reader, be ready for a slew of requests for all the great titles described within!
… A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids’ Comics: Choosing Titles Your Children Will Love …