Toon Books

Library lessons in first and second grade usually involve some kind of read-aloud. Especially now that we're working on reading the books nominated for the Monarch Award, the Illinois Readers Choice Award for grades K-3. We have a poster of the 20 Monarch nominees by the reading chair in the library, and students love to see what we've already read and what we'll read soon. Check the library catalog to see which books are nominated this year!

One Monarch nominee this year is a graphic novel, or comic book, called Little Mouse Gets Ready by Jeff Smith. We have the physical book in the library, but I decided to share this story with students by using the online reader at Professor Garfield's website (shown below). Here you can read the book yourself or you can have the author read it to you. Of course we wanted to hear Jeff Smith read his story! 

What's great about the Toon Book reader on Professor Garfield's website is that it has 11 different books to choose from - and they're translated into 5 different languages! In one especially excited second grade class, we read Little Mouse Gets Ready first in English, then in Chinese (with a couple of our students reading along), and finally in Spanish. What a rich cultural experience! 


Scary Godmother by Jill Thompson

Scary Godmother by Jill Thompson (2010, Dark Horse Comics) is a collection of five previously published comics about - you guessed it, Scary Godmother. The stories can be read in any order, really, and can easily stand alone (as they originally did). In the first story, Hannah Marie, the sweet little leading lady, gets scared while trick-or-treating with the big kids, but her Scary Godmother comes to the rescue. The stories are less scary and more playful, with lots of wit and rhyme.

We received this graphic novel at the King School Library a couple weeks ago along with a box full of new books, but I've just had the chance to finish reading it. And boy, was it good. One of my students (hi Steven!) saw me when I was unpacking that box o' new books and commented that Scary Godmother was a movie (or tv show?), and I said - well, I bet the book came first AND it's better. Maybe I didn't say that, but I sure thought it. And even though I haven't seen the movie, I'm pretty sure I'm right on both accounts.

Jill Thompson is a fantastic artist. Her illustrations draw you in, paint a spooky yet not too creepy picture, and let you get lost in the details. The text is a mixture of prose and dialogue (word balloons & thought bubbles) and each story has a clear beginning, middle, and end - which is important for me to note because it's something we strive to teach students.

What I LOVE about this book, though, is its size. It's HUGE! And it's FULL-COLOR! There's no way that you could fully appreciate Jill Thompson's bold and intricate illustrations on a smaller scale. Oh, how I love it. And I know students will love it too - you know, once I return it. :)
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