Thursday, August 22, 2013

Comics for early readers: Robot, Go Bot! + Bean Dog and Nugget (ages 4-7)

It's no secret--comic books are HUGE in our library. Kids love the energy, humor and visual storytelling they see in comic books. I'm very excited about two new comic books especially for beginning readers: Robot, Go Bot! is part of a great new series Step Into Reading Comic Reader. Bean Dog and Nugget: The Ball is a longer book, but still with very simple text -- perfect for beginning readers who are ready for longer stories, but still are only reading simple words.
Robot, Go Bot!
by Dana Meachen Rau
illustrated by Wook Jin Jung
Random House, 2013
your local library
ages 4-6
Robot, Go Bot! put a smile on my face, and I think it will do the same for our kindergartners and first graders. Kids will connect to the tale - I mean, who wouldn't want a robot they could order around to do their chores and play with them? Especially if you built that robot yourself!
They'll love the bright illustrations which focus the action on the little girl's joy, bossiness and frustration. Wook Jin Jung has a background in animation and graphic design, and you can clearly tell the influences.
But what my students will love best about Robot, Go Bot! is that they'll be able to read the story themselves, with the simple words, rhyming text and picture support. The story is told through very simple dialog: "Go, Bot!" "Throw, Bot." "Row, Bot." "Sew, Bot." As the little girl gets more and more demanding, the robot is clearly not pleased. Like our own little kids, these new friends have to figure out a way to compromise and ask each other to play nicely.

Dana Meachen Rau's spare text is complemented by Wook Jin Jung's minimalist cartoon illustrations, making this text a welcome sight for new readers. Let's hope they have more adventures for Robot in the works!
Bean Dog and Nugget: The Ball
by Charise Mericle Harper
Alfred A. Knopf / Random House, 2013
your local library
ages 5-7
Oooh, a shiny new ball! Bean Dog is so excited to tell his friend Nugget all about it and show her. But when she asks to touch it, he pulls the ball away and says, "NO! It's special to me."

So what do you think Nugget does? Yup. She walks away. And that's NO FUN for Bean Dog. Hmm, what should he do???
Charise Mericle Harper has captured this classic moment in kids' friendships using utterly simple drawings and text. Not only will kids connect to these dilemmas, but they'll be able to understand the arc of the story through these simple drawings and words.

When Bean Dog's ball gets lost in the bushes, the friends work together to figure out how to get it back. Utter goofiness ensues, as the friends throw their shoes into the bushes. There's a particularly giggle-inducing scene when Bean Dog wants to throw his pants into the bushes. The pair discover, as kids so often do, that it's much more fun to solve the problem together and make a game out of the whole adventure.

I love the ample white space around the drawings and text. Kids who are learning to read must also learn the way comic books work. I talk with my first graders how you read them top to bottom, left to right, one panel at a time. The simplicity of the drawings keeps the focus on the dialog and plot, an important thing for new readers.

I'm guessing that kids will also have fun drawing their own Bean Dog and Nugget adventures. Get this for kids who've loved Elephant and Piggie and are ready for something a little more complicated.

Check out Travis Jonker's review at 100 Scope Notes and Charise Harper's guest post on Writing For Kids, as she tells about where she got the idea for Bean Dog and Nugget.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Random House. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

No comments:

Post a Comment