Sunday, June 6, 2010

Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework

You know the old story about how the dog ate a little kid's homework? Well, here's a funny spin on this - except the little kid is a little alien from space, and his homework is to bring in a class pet from a new planet. Second and third graders who are starting to read fluently, but still need action and pictures to bring stories alive will love the new graphic novel from TOON Books: Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework. It's funny, quick moving, and works in quick facts about animals into the story in an effective blend of fiction and nonfiction.
Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework
by Nadja Spiegelman
illustrated by Trade LoefflerNY: TOON Books, 2010
ages 7 - 9
available on Amazon or at your local library

Zig, a young alien child with one eye, is out flying in his spaceship with his best friend Wikki, a walking computer. When Zig's teacher calls telling him that his homework is late, Zig lands the spaceship on the nearest planet, Earth, in search of a class pet. Each time they meet an animal on Earth, Wikki's computer flashes with interesting information. “FLY tasting: flies taste with the hair on their feet, so they can tell when they land if food is good.” But then the fly is eaten by a frog! In the spread below, you'll see how the nonfiction information is worked into the story.
In this debut, Spiegelman captures a great sense of timing and flow for young readers. They'll love the gross facts she includes, and will want to keep reading to find out what animal Zig takes home for show and tell. Along the way, Zig and Wikki learn about how the food chain operates, as each animal is eaten by a larger predator. As always, Zig and Wikki wind up in trouble. Zig accidentally zaps Wikki with the shrinking ray and now he's a mini-computer!

Our take-away gross fact: "FLY spitting: Flies use spit to turn their food into liquid, then they suck it up again." Eeew! Now, that's a great sentence with huge pay-off for a kid to read!

TOON has a fantastic site for kids: TOON Reader. You and your kids can read the entire Zig and Wikki at home, in English, French, Spanish, Russian or Chinese! The site will either read the book aloud, or let you click on each speech bubble to listen as you read at your own pace. They currently have eleven different books available - the full books, not just excerpts. It's really a wonderful site.

Zig and Wikki are in TOON's level 3, aimed at 2nd and 3rd graders. It works great for reluctant readers at an older level, since Zig and Wikki don't have an age. It also could work for younger readers who are comfortable reading whole sentences. The sentences are short, and the vocabulary reasonable simple except in the science information sections.

We're hoping that Zig and Wikki return for more adventures in outer space!

The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this page, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support.


  1. I think this is such a fabulous series--I saw Francoise Mouly on a webinar for graphic novels recently and she was very interesting. I liked a quote she gave about how graphic novels are the gateway drug for reading! (or maybe that was a quote from her husband...)The website is also really great!

  2. Isn't that a great idea, a way to lure kids into reading, get them fascinated and spark their imagination with all the possibilities!