Saturday, May 1, 2010

Review: Two from Toon Books

Here are my thoughts about two new books from children's comic book publisher Toon Books:

1) Zig & Wikki: Something Ate My Homework, written by Nadja Spiegelman, art by Trade Loeffler, 2010, Toon Books, 40 pages, $12.95

In Zig & Wikki, an alien and his talking encyclopedia/robot friend land on Earth looking to abscond with some local wildlife to fulfill the alien's homework assignment.  They run across flies, dragonflies, frogs, and a raccoon, have a small adventure, and learn some science factoids courtesy of robot Wikki's encyclopedia screen.  It's a cute and simple story, appropriate for all ages.  There isn't too much to say with this one: like all of the Toon Books, I can pretty much guarantee that small children will like it.

READ MORE: Here is a six-page excerpt from the book.

BUY IT: From Toon Books here or from Amazon here: Zig and Wikki: Something Ate My Homework

2) Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker, by Geoffrey Hayes, 2010, Toon Books, 32 pages, $12.95

The brother and sister mice Benny and Penny have already starred in two previous books (Benny and Penny in Just Pretend and Benny and Penny in the Big No-No), so my kids were already familiar with them and looking forward to the new story.  As with the earlier books, Benny and Penny face a problem while playing in their backyard.  Here, their cousin Bo comes to play, and the three of them just don't play well together.  Bo doesn't treat their toys well, and Benny and Penny don't want to include him in their playing.  As with the other books, unfortunately, the kids are pretty mean to each other (every book uses the phrases "cry-baby" or "go crying to your mommy," which seems a little unnecessary -- even if it is clear that it is not a nice thing to say, I don't really want to introduce this phrase to my  kids in the first place).  But the ultimate message of the book is good:  they learn that when they treat each other nicely, they all have more fun playing together.  And I like Hayes's drawings -- they give enough detail to make the world interesting, but don't become overwhelming or too confusing for little kids.

READ MORE: Here is a six-page excerpt.

BUY IT: From Toon Books here or from Amazon here:  Benny and Penny in the Toy Breaker

Lastly, everyone should check out the "Toon into Fun" section of the publisher's website, which has an excellent cartoon maker. My kids LOVE using the characters from the various Toon books to make their own cartoons, complete with word balloons, props, and backgrounds.  Here's one I just made using characters from Eleanor Davis's Stinky (my favorite Toon book):

RELATED: Here are my other reviews of children's comic books published by Toon Books:

Disclaimer: These reviews are based on complimentary copies provided by the publisher.

1 comment:

  1. My wife and I had the exact same reaction to Benny and Penny. Good illustrations, but the last thing we want is our two-year-old son repeating Benny's name-calling.