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

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Boo, The World’s Cutest Dog
Dynamite/$3.99
Written by Audrey Elizabeth, Kristen Deacon, Fernando Ruiz, and Joelle Sellner.
Art by Fernando Ruiz, Rob Robbins, and Tony Fleecs.
Letters by Tom Napolitano.

Six years ago a Pomeranian puppy named Boo became one of the first pet internet sensations. It all started with a Facebook page by his owner, and ever since the public fascination with Boo has spiraled into books, websites, and now a comic published by Dynamite, home of another social media star, Grumpycat. Similar to Grumpycat’s comic, Boo’s book involves multiple stories done by several talented writers and artists, stories that range from how Boo saved the day at his human’s birthday party, to figuring out how to get his own food with his fellow doggie pals, Blueberry Pie and Buddy, to Boo becoming a Hollywood star.

With themes of friendship, helping others in need, and resilience, the stories in Boo, The World’s Cutest Dog is a great book for little ones in this age range. They’re written with easy to read words, and uses text-heavy dialogue sparingly. The artwork showcases each artist’s abilities and is done in very saccharine hues. If you think Boo is adorable in real life, you will certainly love him in this book.

Ages 8-11

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My Little Pony: Friends Forever #31
IDW Publishing/$3.99
Written by Tony Fleecs.
Art by Tony Fleecs and Sara Richard; colors by Heather Breckel.
Letters by Neil Uyetake.

Congratulations are in order — it’s Tony Fleecs’ My Little Pony: Friends Forever writing debut, and he does a fantastic job with his first story! Here Rainbow Dash and Little Strongheart team up to help Chief Thunder Hooves and his buffalo get a feather from the Rainbow Crow. They need this feather to perform an ancient ceremony in the hopes that it’ll help the land yield crops. Of course, Rainbow Dash, set in her confident, competitive, and stubborn ways, has to take time to pause and learn from Little Strongheart that maybe her way isn’t the best way. She learns that tradition and ritual are sometimes more important than the easier and quick fix.   

I appreciate how Fleecs utilized a Native American storytelling angle to deliver that sentiment. I felt it gave the story more weight and allowed for something different. I also loved how he did the artwork for the story of the Rainbow Crow, and it’s some of the most beautiful work I’ve seen in a comic or otherwise. Combine that with the familiar MLP artwork from Sara Richard, and you have a solid book.

Ages 12-15

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Gotham Academy Second Semester #1
DC/$2.99
Written by Brendan Fletcher, Becky Cloonan, and Karl Kerschl.
Art by Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Msassyk, Chris Sotomayor, and Serge LaPointe.

In the first issue of this new story arc, the writing team allows us a closer look into Olive’s life and sets up what is to come now that the students have all returned after holiday break  We know there will be a mystery to solve, and a possible foe in the form of a new student named Amy. Read my full review here.

Ages 16+

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink #3
Boom! Studios/$3.99
Written by Brendan Fletcher, Kelly Thompson & Tini Howard.
Art by Daniele Di Nicuolo; colors by Sarah Stern.
Letters by Ed Dukeshire.

The action continues for Kimberly and her pals, Trini (Yellow Ranger) and Zack (Black Ranger). The Rangers combine forces to help Serge and the captured townsfolk escape against Goldar and Verto. They may not have their powers at the moment, but with a clever communicator hack the three are able to morph and do what they do best: kick a whole bunch of butt. However, Kimberly uses some of her power to help Trini and Zack gain theirs so it leaves her weakened. What we’re left with is a cliffhanger just as exciting as the story that preceded it, and a possible alliance between the unlikeliest of characters.

Brenden Fletcher, Kelly Thompson and Tini Howard do a great job keeping the momentum going in this third issue. It’s also the turning point for the writing team, as Howard will take on the writing responsibilities from here on out. The artwork by Daniele Di Nicuolo and Sarah Stern continue to make the story pop. They construct the action and fight sequences really well and it helps move the story forward in a smooth way. Overall, an enjoyable book in this series, and one that will leave us readers in rapt anticipation for the next issue.      

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

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Bandette, Volume One: Presto!
Dark Horse Books, 2013
Written by Paul Tobin.
Art by Colleen Coover.

Awarded the Eisner for Best Digital/Webcomic this past July (it also received the honor in 2013), Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s Bandette is a great mix of mystery, humor, and heart. So what better way to get to know the world’s greatest teen thief than in the first volume, aptly titled, “Presto!” (Bandette’s battle cry). The first three-quarters of the book are broken into chapters and focus on one story line. We meet Bandette, her dog, Pimento, and her loyal street urchin crew all while she deals with her greatest thieving rival, Monsieur. However, when a larger force, FINIS and their leader, Absinthe, set their sights on taking out Bandette, she proposes they work together through Police Inspector Belguque.      

The last quarter of the book is filled with individual stories written by Tobin. It provides a story from one of Bandette’s urchins, Daniel, who secretly is in love with her. I appreciated the guide to the artifacts that Bandette has stolen over time and what their real-world versions look like. Overall a really fun introduction to a cool character who uses her smarts and her urchin crew to accomplish her goals of public safety and being the world’s greatest thief.

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.

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