By Stefania Rudd. Do you have little ones in your life who are drawn to the world of comics through movies, cartoons, and video games, but you’re not sure what to start them with, or even know what’s appropriate?

We got you! Books For Babes aims to provide info on what books kids will enjoy, but can also be entertaining for adults. One can never start too early — or too late — in building a solid comic book foundation.

Ages 4-7

Cover to 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #55'. Art by Sara Richard/IDW Publishing

Cover to ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #55’. Art by Sara Richard/IDW Publishing

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #55
IDW Publishing/$3.99
Written by Christina Rice.
Art by Agnes Garbowska.
Colors by Heather Breckel.
Letters by Neil Uyetake.

The ponies are in Yakyakistan for a diplomatic mission with the Wonderbolts when dragons show up and things start to get really scary. The dragons’ purpose is unknown, but that doesn’t stop Rainbow Dash from leading the charge to help those in peril. In the first issue of this two-story arc, we get the backstory of how Rainbow Dash works to overcome her nervousness in order to be brave. She inspires her fellow ponies, who all do their best to help aid the yaks against the dragons. However, things become even more confusing once Princess Ember arrives, and the issue ends with a cliffhanger.

This issue contains the great storytelling readers have come to expect from this series. There is a great balance of Christina Rice’s dialogue and Agnes Garbowska’s artwork to make a book that is full of movement and action without being too word heavy for younger readers. Heather Breckel’s colors make it all vibrant and engaging. A great start to this arc.

Ages 8-11

Cover to 'Hanazuki: Full of Treasures #1'. Art by Valentina Pinto/IDW Publishing

Cover to ‘Hanazuki: Full of Treasures #1’. Art by Valentina Pinto/IDW Publishing

Hanazuki: Full of Treasures #1
IDW Publishing/$3.99
Adapted by David Mariotte.
Art by Nico Pena.
Colors by Valentina Pinto.
Letters by Christa Miesner.

Hanazuki: Full of Treasures is based off digital-first show by Hasbro that focuses on Hanazuki, protector of the Hemkas, a group of cute, bunny-like creatures who represent specific emotions. Hanazuki also is the guardian of special treasures that look like popsicles, given to her by the mysterious Little Dreamer, which help keep the darkness at bay. In this first issue we get all this backstory and setup for the exciting things to come.

David Mariotte adapted this from David Polsky’s script from the first episode, “A Moonflower is Born,” and he does a beautiful job. Even if one has never seen the show it’s still easy to get into. Nico Pena’s art and Valentina Pinto’s coloring are very in line with the show, and it’s done in a soft cartoonish way. A great crossover from show to book, and definitely something that will allow more fans to discover the series.

Ages 12-15

Cover to 'Brave Chef Brianna' #1. Art by Bridget Underwood/BOOM! Studios

Cover to ‘Brave Chef Brianna’ #1. Art by Bridget Underwood/BOOM! Studios

Brave Chef Brianna #4
Written by Sam Sykes.
Art by Selina Espiritu.
Colors by Sarah Stern.
Letters by Jim Campbell.

The last issue of this this creative and sweet series has come to an end.

We find ourselves wondering what exactly will Brianna do if she cannot continue her restaurant. Thanks to her brother, Hans, she has been exposed as breaking the law using non-friendly-to-monsters ingredients which forces her restaurant to close. Madam Cron is elated, but thanks to an ancient bylaw, Brianna has a chance to save what she has worked so hard to build. It involves another cook-off, this time against Madam Cron, and the ultimate judgement of the City Council (who are by far the most menacing looking monsters in all of Monster City).

Sam Sykes does a fantastic job in wrapping up this series by getting the story moving without it being too rushed. Overall, the writing has been great for all four issues and the story did a great job combining elements of fantasy with something familiar. The art and coloring continue to be a wonderful enhancement to the story, allowing for freedom in imagining the world of Monster City. Fingers crossed that there can be more for Brianna, Suzan, and Kevin beyond this first arc.

Ages 16+

Cover to 'Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince' #1. Art by Paulina Ganucheau and Sarah Stern/Dark Horse Comics

Cover to ‘Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince’ #1. Art by Paulina Ganucheau and Sarah Stern/Dark Horse Comics

Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #1
Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Written by Kevin Panetta.
Art by Paulina Ganucheau.
Colors by Sarah Stern.
Letters by Christy Sawyer.

Zodiac Starforce debuted in 2015, and it enamored us with its re-imagining of the magical girl genre. Writer Kevin Panetta and artist Paulina Ganucheau are back with more of the series’ trademark magical kick-butt action in Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #1. In this debut, the Starforce is fresh off the victory from the first series, though as soon as things start to cool down for our eponymous ladies, new troubles begin to bubble up. Read my full review here.

Throwback Issues
(Where we discuss the classics that everyone should read.)

Cover to 'Babymouse: Queen of the World!'/Random House

Cover to ‘Babymouse: Queen of the World!’/Random House

Babymouse #1: Queen of the World
Random House, 2005
By Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm.

Sister and brother duo, Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, team up to create the first book of the series in Babymouse #1: Queen of the World. We’re introduced to Babymouse, a pre-teen mouse who navigates the choppy waters of popularity, self-esteem, and friendship all while trying to put a lid on her uncontrollable imagination. Her main goal in this book is to make it to Felicia Furrypaws’ slumber party, and the lengths she goes to get the invitation.

Winner of the Eisner Award and multiple children’s choice awards, the Babymouse series has been popular with elementary schoolers from the start. With its easy-to-read dialogue and relatable topics it’s a no brainer to see why. Matthew Holm’s artwork is simple, bold, and has just the right amount of cute. A great start to a wonderful series.

That’s it for this week! Has Books For Babes helped you out at all? We want to know! Feel free to send feedback our way in the comments section below.