Alphabetical Index of Toon Books

Good Night, Planet

Good Night, Planet is a beautifully illustrated take on the classic idea of a child’s beloved stuffed animal coming alive at night. Planet appears to be a bedraggled rabbit (or maybe a dog?), and after a day jumping in the autumn leaves, while the little girl sleeps, Planet plays with the family dog and gets snacks. The linework by Liniers is detailed, especially around the edges, whether stacking up shadows in the corner of the room or delineating the night […]

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Wordplay: Ivan Brunetti’s Children’s Book

Ivan Brunetti, a cartoonist whose early works’ titles included Misery Loves Comedy and Schizo, is now reaching a new audience. (It’s not his first redirection: he’s also done covers for The New Yorker.) Wordplay is a hardcover comic for grades K-1 guaranteed to show how fun playing with language can be. In its 30 pages, children (with perfectly round heads, a quirk of Brunetti’s style) learn from their teacher and parents about compound words. The grammar lesson takes full advantage […]

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Something’s Fishy

With this third book by Kevin McCloskey about everyday wildlife, publisher Toon Books has tagged the series “Giggle and Learn”. After We Dig Worms! and The Real Poop on Pigeons! comes Something’s Fishy. Since this is a Level 1 comic, aimed at grades K-1, the book is light on the kind of substantial, encyclopedic educational content adults expect, but if you like to look at fish, there are a whole bunch presented here, and in an entertaining way. There’s one […]

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Benny and Penny in How to Say Goodbye

Geoffrey Hayes’ adorable field mouse siblings return in a story about dealing with loss. While playing in dead leaves, Penny finds the body of Little Red, a salamander the two had memories of seeing earlier in the year. In only 20-some pages, Hayes manages to move his characters realistically through denial, disgust, resistance, friendship, problem-solving, and navigating the ceremonies of mourning. It’s all beautifully illustrated, and I was particularly happy to see new friend Melina. She’s a mole, and her […]

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Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms!

Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms! is the third in the clever series by Philippe Coudray, after Fuzzy Thinking and Bright Ideas!. The volumes collect a series of one-page comics in which Benjamin demonstrates his imagination, surrounded by his woodland friends. They’re highly enjoyable reads, with plenty of potential for discussion with younger readers about what they see and what they expected to happen. They spur creative thinking and a sense of joy at how amazing the world can be. They’re […]

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The Real Poop on Pigeons!

The author of We Dig Worms!, Kevin McCloskey, returns with another gross/cool examination of a common but misunderstood natural creature. The Real Poop on Pigeons! features a group of pigeon-loving (and bird-costumed) kids explaining to adults how cool the birds are, disproving the myths that they’re “rats with wings” and do nothing but poop. The birds are important: historically – as letter carriers aesthetically – as we see a bunch of different breeds with wild feathers and colors biologically – […]

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A Goofy Guide to Penguins

Don’t mistake A Goofy Guide to Penguins for an educational comic. This is a book of silly pictures aimed at kindergartners and first graders. Philippe Coudray also does the Benjamin Bear series, and this has a similar irrational logic applied to wildlife, co-created with his twin brother Jean-Luc. Each page has two pictures, setup and visual punchline, narrated by a baby penguin outside the frame. You can see samples at the publisher’s website. The images are excuses to draw penguins, […]

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Toon Books Level 3: Written and Drawn by Henrietta, Flop to the Top!

Toon Books ranks its publications, which are aimed at young readers, according to reading level, to make it easier for educators, librarians, and parents to find the right books. Level 3 are for “advanced beginners”, with chaptered stories and the ability to change time and place in the telling. They’re recommended for those ages 5 and up. These titles are new out this month. (The publisher provided review copies.) Written and Drawn by Henrietta by Liniers I greatly enjoyed Liniers’ […]

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