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A Parent's Guide to the Best Kids' Comics: Choosing Titles Your Children Will Love Paperback – May 31, 2012
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About the Author
Snow Wildsmith has served on committees for the American Library Association and Young Adult Library Services Association. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2.com, Good Comics for Kids and Robin Brenner's No Flying No Tights. She also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. McFarland will publish her first books for teens, a nonfiction series on joining the military, in 2012.
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So let's assume that you are interested in buying child-friendly comics or graphic novels, how do you figure out what's any good? This volume is a VERY helpful resource which at the same time exemplifies the medium it explores. This is a colorful, graphic, bold book written by two librarians. Chapters are divided into four age groups: pre K-1, grades 2-3, grades 4-5 and grades 6-8. Each two-page entry gives the title, author, publication and genre information, a summary and review, an example of the artwork, educational info and, quite helpfully -- a list of similar recommended titles, with complete series listings at the back of the book. In this way the authors recommend over 800 titles, giving in-depth coverage to about 100. All of the books discussed are in print, which is nice, and they seem to have been chosen with care and thoughtfulness.
Our family, children and adults, reads comics and graphic novels, and we still found some new titles we'd like to get. This is a wonderful resource for readers, parents and teachers. A bibliography gives book resources, booklists, websites, and even recommends some series geared toward parents. Unfortunately, no index, though the organization will help you find something without too much bother.
NB: A correction -- In the parental resources section, Robert Kirkman is listed as the author of a comic series called Baby Blues. I was intrigued that the author of The Walking Dead graphic novels had also penned this seemingly lighthearted look at parenting and indeed, it is not so. The true author of the Baby Blues series is Rick Kirkman.
But I had to argue with a few of their choices. Of course, ANY guide to the best of anything will have quibbles and omissions. For examples, in the Pre-K-1 level they list both Rick & Rack & the Great Outdoors and Zoe & Robot as separate entries, but in fact both are part of the very fine Balloon Toons series & probably should have been listed together. Several of the Pre-K-1 level books were really just picture books, like Raymond Briggs' The Snowman. It's a fine book, but there's nothing especially comic-book about it.
And some of the age ratings seem off, like The Smurfs or Happy Happy Clover for 4th-5th graders - my daughter was WAY over The Smurfs by 4th grade, and while she still read Happy Happy Clover at that age, she had started reading them earlier. But, it's a guide, you can pick and choose.
Minor quibbles aside - they have some great comics in here. You're bound to find plenty of new titles for the younger comics readers.