Saturday, December 10, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book three hundred and forty-four

My father was one of those people who thought that reading comics was bad for children. Perhaps he thought that if I read comics, I would not read other books. Well, he was wrong. I read comics on the sly, and read other books with great enthusiasm.

A few years ago, Toon Books started publishing some wonderful beginner reader titles that are in graphic novel (comic book) form. The stories are charming, and they are perfect for children who are just beginning to read books on their own. Today's book is one of these Toon Book titles. It won the 2010 Theodor Geisel (who most people know as Dr. Seuss) Award. This award is given "annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year."

Geoffrey Hayes
Graphic Novel
For ages 5 to 7
Toon Books, 2009, 978-0-9799238-9-0
   Benny has heard that there is a “new kid” living next door. He tries to get a glimpse of the kid through a hole in the fence, but he sees nothing. Then Benny notices that his pail is missing and he quickly jumps to the conclusion that the new neighbor is responsible. Even though he knows it is a “no-no” to go into the next door yard without an invitation, Benny does it anyway.
   Benny and Penny are investigating some suspicious looking footprints in the neighbors yard when they hear someone coming. They soon see that their new neighbor is a little girl mole who is wearing a bathing suit and flippers (hence the strange footprints.) Benny, Penny, and the little mole get into a mud pie fight, and then Benny finds his bucket. The girl mole stole it!
   Sometimes it is easy to get carried away and to do things that we later regret. In the heat of the moment we make assumptions that are incorrect, and we even hurt other people’s feelings. In this delightful graphic novel (or comic book) style title, Geoffrey Hayes explores how such misunderstandings can happen. In addition to telling a meaningful, and often gently amusing story, the author gives readers a tale that is perfectly suited to children who are just beginning to learn how to read on their own.
   This is one of a series of books about the adventures of Benny and Penny.

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