I love any type of book that encourages reluctant readers to pick up and book and go to town. It seems that graphic novels tend to draw in these kids with their appearance of being mainly pictures...and then once the story starts the reader is just sucked in. Gotcha!
Toon Books have been awesome sellers at the bookstore for this very reason and they just keep getting better as new ones are published. They come in Levels 1-3, for approximately a Kindergarten reading level to about grade 3, give or take based on individual reading levels, of course. Excellent tips for parents and teachers regarding reading comics with kids are included in the back, which I found extremely helpful.
Candlewick sent me the two latest ones to review and I was incredibly happy with the stories and the comics in each.
"Benny and Penny in Lights Out" by Geoffrey Hayes was a sweet story about a brother and sister that can't seem to get along while trying to get ready for bed. Penny, obviously the more "Type A" bunny, has her teeth brushed, her pajamas on, and simply wants to hunker down in her comfy bed with her book. Benny, on the other hand, wants to play, play, play! It was adorable and I could see how easy it would be to both read and to follow along for those kids that are really just starting to practice their reading.
"Maya Makes a Mess" by Rutu Modan was a great lesson in manners. Maya isn't known for her cleanliness while eating, but when an unexpected invitation to dine with the Queen arrives, she knows she'd better whip the manners into shape. She has to improvise a bit and the results are very funny...made me chuckle! The illustrations were silly and made the story easy to follow and the text will have readers giggling.
I've yet to encounter a Toon Book I don't like and I'm so glad more and more books are being published. I can see every reader being able to find one to enjoy -- and that doesn't happen with a series very often!