I don't know about you, but my first comics were the kind I read in the Sunday newspaper.
We don't have a newspaper subscription, and I'm a little bit sad that my kids won't grow up fighting over the funnies. (I'm not too sad though. They have a blast playing with the Skype call testing service. Each generation has something new, I guess!)
Anyway, today I'm reviewing I'm Grumpy and I'm Sunny, the first two books in the "My First Comics" series by Jenni and Matt Holm. I was excited to hear that these books would be coming out, since I love the work the Holm's have done so far. I credit Shannon Hale's recommendation of their Babymouse series with getting me into graphic novels as an adult. I love Jenni's non-graphic novels, and have been to several of her signings. So I requested review copies of these books from Random House and was pleased that they sent them.
Here's the rundown:
These books are great for teaching emotional intelligence. Not just naming emotions but also recognizing emotions in facial expressions, and considering how one's actions affect others. These books are also great for teaching pre-reading skills. As the back of the book says, "Reading pictures is the first step toward reading words!" And I can tell you that's true. Heard all about it in my literacy classes in college. What's more, these books are a great place to start if you want to teach your kids how to read comics. They have panels and bleeds, word balloons, narrator boxes, sound effects, motion lines, and so on.
These books are not phonics books. They're not designed to allow your kids to sound words out or read a book that only contains words they already recognize. I'm Sunny contains words like "meanwhile" and "tornado." Since they're board books, I think it's safe to say they're meant for young kids. But I definitely took my time with the books when I was reading them to Jubilee. We talked about what was happening in panels. I explained the things that made Grumpy Cloud feel grumpy. I asked her to tell me how characters were feeling. We had a great time with the books, but I didn't just read the words and turn the pages. I think if you want to get the most out of these books, you're going to have to be active in reading and discussing. These books were definitely not too baby-ish for my kindergartener, Levi.
The whole family has really enjoyed these, and I look forward to more books in the series.
A couple of days ago I was pretty grouchy and knew that I had been grumping at the family. I ended up on the couch with Jubilee next to me and Jacob nearby, when I saw this pair of books on the floor.
"See that book?" I said to Jubilee. "That's me. I'm grumpy."
In her most chipper voice she piped up, "I'm Sunny!" and it made both Jacob and I laugh.
Good job lightening the mood, babe. :)
Things you might find interesting
I also used this book to help my kids with emotions.
I interviewed Matt and Jenni Holm.
I reviewed another set of board book comics.
And, last but not least, affiliate links to shop for these books!