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.
Grumpy Cat (And Pokey!) #4
Written by Ben McCool, Royal McGraw, and Ben Fisher.
Art by Steve Uy, Michelle Nguyen, Ken Haeser, and Buzz Hasson.
The Grumpy Cat series is a prime example of how to fully utilize multiple stories by different authors and artists, and package them all up in a single comic. In the newest issue, the stories range from an epic hide-and-seek game budding from Grumpy and her brother Pokey escaping the vacuum cleaner, to Grumpy becoming the mythical creature Krampus…I mean, Grumpus.
Though each story has a different creative team, enough of a similarity remains between writing and art that jumping from story to story isn’t jarring. Of the three, my favorite was the middle tale, Something Grumpy This Way Comes, where Grumpy longs for a different life, but when offered it, realizes she may not have it so bad after all. (I also appreciated the multiple nods to David Bowie.) Full of cuteness and whimsy – with a dash of her trademark grumpiness – these stories are relatable and have teachable moments about sibling relationships, appreciating what you have, and not taking others for granted.
Over the Garden Wall #2
Written by Jim Campbell and Amalia Levari.
Art by Jim Campbell and Cara McGee.
Over the Garden Wall continues the two stories begun in the first issue: going deeper into Greg’s dream in the first, and in the second revealing more of Anna’s day-to-day life. This issue is still great for all ages, but the amount of words and their level of difficulty had me think it’d be good for this age group of readers.
In Jim Campbell’s continuation of Dreamland Melodies, we are still with Greg in his dream (similar to following Alice down the rabbit hole), where this time he is helping a squirrel store her nuts, but they quickly discover an underground mole village with a portrait of a frog that looks very similar to Funderburker. The mystery continues… And in the second story Homeland, Amalia Levari and Cara McGee move along Anna’s story by allowing us to live a few days with her through the narration of her diary. This story really hit me in the feels. I know it’s building towards something, but what? I hope its resolution, but my guts says heartbreak. Sigh. In any case, a beautifully done tale.
Goldie Vance #2
Written by Hope Larson.
Art by Brittney Williams; colors by Sarah Stern.
We’re only into the second issue and I’m still smitten with the delightful Goldie Vance. I don’t know where even to begin describing all its charm and all-ages appeal. Although set in a bygone era, the allure of Goldie and her quest for adventure in seeking out cases to solve are universal. In the second issue we move forward with the mystery of what happened to Mr. Ludwig, and find more clues in the way of a Russian candy wrapper (and with the missing necklace he was in a panic about). Of course, Goldie still has time to play matchmaker with her work-friends, Cheryl and Rob, and spends some quality time with her mermaid-mother. Okay, okay she isn’t actually a mermaid, but she’s close enough. We also finally get to meet Goldie’s nemeses Sugar Maple, and she seems like a real pill with an axe to grind.
The creative team of Hope Larson, Brittney Williams, and Sarah Stern meld their talents together seamlessly in this book. Larson’s dialogue is effortless and colloquial, making it easy for younger readers to pick up as well. Combined with Williams’ cutesy but not too saccharine artwork, and Stern’s dreamy pastel but vibrant coloring, and you have yourself a more than solid book. Again, even though we aren’t that far into the series, Goldie Vance has quickly become one of my favorites.
Written by Chip Zdarsky.
Art by Erica Henderson.
In Jughead #6 Chip Zdarsky wraps up the Principal Stanger story arc with Jughead and his pals getting acknowledgement and help from a very unlikely source… Read my full review here.
(Where we discuss the classics that everyone should read.)
Lost & Found (Omnibus)
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011
By Shaun Tan.
Shaun Tan’s Lost & Found is a collection of three stories: The Red Tree, The Lost Thing, and The Rabbits, all dealing with some element of being lost, found, or both. Although there is a certain melancholy to the stories, there is an underlying glimmer of hope preventing it from becoming too gloomy. After all, this book is intended for the younger set (ages 4-8), however like all children’s books it speaks loudly to the adults willing to listen.
Visually, Tan does a beautiful job in creating mood and atmosphere for these stories. Even though this is a graphic novel, it makes use of mixed media, combining traditional drawing with collage, photos, and paint. The little details surrounding the story on the pages are a treasure that enhance the main theme. The stories themselves are simple to understand, but stick with you. Overall, Lost & Found is a fantastic book for anyone of any age to read.
That’s it for this week! Has Books For Babes help you out at all? We want to know! Feel free to send feedback our way in the comments section below.