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.
The Only Child
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015
Written and illustrated by Guojing.
Part picture book, part graphic novel, and completely moving and beautiful, Guojing’s The Only Child tells a tale of loneliness, longing, and hope, with more than a little whimsy thrown in. The main character is a little girl who gets lost on her way to her grandmother’s house, but instead of encountering a wolf trying to trick her, she is rescued by a stag and led on an adventure in the clouds. Less alone and scared, she finds her way back home and is embraced by those who love her.
Using gray and black pencils to depict the story, Guojing sets the perfect wintery tone for this book. The art is soft and comforting. Despite being a fully silent book, the story and tone of The Only Child is easy to follow. And although it’s very sweet, there is a subtle melancholy underneath its whimsy that young children would probably not pick up on, making it an enriching experience for you to share with your little ones.
Written by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh.
Art by Carolyn Nowak.
Colors by Maarta Laiho.
Letters by Aubrey Aiese.
In this issue we spend some time with the campers of Zodiac cabin and see Barney embracing their new life as a Lumberjane! We also discover that Diane gets to stay at camp (hooray?), becoming an integral part of the Roanoke’s campers’ plan to give Barney a warm welcome.
Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh create a heartwarming and very inclusive world where questions like, “What pronouns do you use now?” are not seen as odd, but as a part of developing one’s self. Carolyn Nowak is back on art, and her signature style (softly-curved and cartoonish) provides a sense of comfort, brought to life with Maarta Laiho’s vibrant coloring. Overall a great start to seeing Barney back as a full-fledged Lumberjane. I also think showing their transition is a great way to open a dialogue about gender identity between kids and with the adults in their lives.
Jem: The Misfits #1
Written by Kelly Thompson.
Art by Jenn St-Onge.
Colors by M. Victoria Robado.
Letters by Shawn Lee.
Fans of Jem and the Holograms will enjoy this new spin-off series featuring their rival band, The Misfits. We start this issue learning the band has no label to call home, having burned quite a lot of bridges on their way to stardom. When their manager Eric presents Pizazz an opportunity to get the group back in the limelight she hesitates, but ultimately makes the big decision… like she always has for this makeshift Misfits family.
One thing I really enjoyed was how writer Kelly Thompson provided the backstory for Pizazz wanting to form the group, and the recruitment of everyone into it, including her personal assistant, Clash. Thompson weaves the past into the present as Pizzazz and Eric speak, keeping the emphasis on why she started this group in the first place: to feel part of a family. Jenn St-Onge’s artwork and M. Victoria Robado’s coloring is consistent with the other Jem issues; they continue to use electrifyingly vibrant colors that embrace the uniqueness of each character. I think this will be a great and accessible series for all ages.
Justice League of America: The Atom Rebirth #1
Written by Steve Orlando.
Art by Andy MacDonald; coloring by John Rauch.
Lettering by Clayton Cowles.
For such a tiny hero, there’s an awful lot of story in Justice League of America: The Atom Rebirth #1, this one-shot that reintroduces us to Ryan Choi and his mentor, friend, and superhero partner, Professor Ray Palmer, aka The Atom. Read my full review here.
(Where we discuss the classics that everyone should read.)
Minx Books, 2007
Written by Mike Carey.
Art by Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel.
Another book from the now defunct DC-imprint Minx Books, Re-Gifters tells the tale of Korean-American teen, Jen Dik Seong (Dixie to her friends), and her attempt to be the best Hapkido student she can be all while balancing her emotions—mainly love and anger—each day. Mike Carey tells the relatable story of Dixie and her quest to not only win the 25th National Hapkido Championship, but the heart of her dream guy, Adam. In order to impress him she spends her tournament registration money and life savings to get him the perfect gift—a Hapkido warrior statue. The gift of course goes unappreciated and then it also becomes the central theme to the story (hint: read the title again).
Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel do a wonderful job making the story a robust graphic novel through the art. Even though it is in black and white without color, there is still a vibrancy to the artwork through character’s emotions and the movement portrayed in the fight scenes. Even though the story became predictable at times, there were still a few twists I didn’t see coming. I enjoyed this book and think it would be great for anyone still figuring out who they are in their teen years.
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.