Toon Books are a new set of graphic novels aimed at the emerging reader. They are written and illustrated by professional artists/authors and are wildly intriguing for the young reader. My son who is reading at a Gr. 2 level enjoyed these immensely. The three I am reviewing are the second and latest set (Aug. 2008) to be released.
Jack and the Box by Art Spiegelman is printed in the traditional horizontal format of a picture book and is the easiest to read of these three. Large print and easy (K-1) vocabulary along with a funny story about a gift jack-in-the-box with a sense of humour; along with the wonderful illustrations make this an addictive read for children. If your child can read the title, they will be able to read the book. Lots of fun!
Stinky by Eleanor Davis is for a little more experienced reader (Gr. 1 -2). My son read this very well and he is one who struggles with reading. But the wonderful story of a Stinky swamp creature who hates clean little kids but meets a friend in a boy who seems to like the exact same mucky, gross things he does is an appealing story for boys. One that will keep kids reading just for the fun of it. Divided into chapters this book gives a good sense of accomplishment when finished by the emergent reader.
Mo and Jo: Fighting Together Forever by Dean Haspiel & Jay Lynch is again for the more experienced reader, divided into chapters and is the highest reading level of the lot, approx Gr.2-3. My struggling reader had some difficulties with the vocabulary but with a little help from Mum and Dad he was eager to read the super hero story. With both a girl and boy character this should appeal to both, though I think boys are going to love this one for sure. Every boy's dream of becoming a superhero comes true when Mo and Jo's mailman comes to their house and admits that he is the Mighty Mojo but he is retiring and would like to give them his costume which contains his powers.
As a parent I was thrilled with these enticing books that held my reluctant reader's interest and kept him reading page after page without any pressure from mum or dad to just try and read one more page. In fact we all liked them so much I've ordered the first three for Christmas presents this year and look forward to the next books that will published next year. These 'early readers' are a fabulous use of the graphic novel format.