Comics: Easy as ABC! The Essential Guide to Comics for Kids, by Ivan Brunetti, (Apr. 2019, TOON Books), $16.95, ISBN: 9781943145447
Ivan Brunetti and an all-star cast of comics luminaries put together a compulsively readable guide to cartooning and comics for kids and grownups alike. An Understanding Comics for younger readers, Comics: Easy as ABC! introduces kids to the joy of cartooning and doodling; drawing characters whose faces and body language communicate emotion and personality; perspective; point of view; lettering, and so much more. There are quotes and excerpts of comic panels and drawings by such comics and graphic novel notables including Neil Gaiman, Elise Gravel, Liniers, and Jeff Smith. TOON Editorial Director and New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly notes, in her introduction, that she hopes Comics: Easy as ABC! encourages more people to fall in love with comics and to inspire budding cartoonists.
This is such a great volume to have as a desk reference for librarians, parents, and educators, because it’s a crash course in understanding comics. It gives a language to the artwork, letting us look at all art – comic books, naturally, but picture books and illustrated chapter books, too – and explain to readers how to read art; how to decipher facial expressions and body language, how to read a landscape and understand a setting for a panel or spread. The book encourages readers to “draw their own conclusions” by letting them fill in the ending of a comic strip drawn by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and artist Art Spiegelman, and “find their own voices”, with guidance from author Eleanor Davis. A section dedicated to parents, teachers, and librarians guides us grown-ups through the process of how to read comics with kids, with examples, advice, and callout tips like, “The child who makes informed guesses is reading. Enjoy, and hold back from correcting”. Information about the TOON Into Reading Program explains TOON’s leveled reading (also broken further into Lexile, Guided Reading, Reading Recovery, and grade levels). An index, further resources, and a bibliography round out this information-packed guide to the world of comics and graphic novels.
TOON! does it again. This is an essential volume for your graphic novels shelves, and for your desk reference. There’s a 7-page free, downloadable Teacher’s Guide available on the website.
2 thoughts on “Comics: Easy as ABC! is essential kid and grownup reading!”
This looks brilliant! Where was it three weeks ago when I was designing a bibliography and library program for middle graders about making comics? I remember musing at one point “I wish there was an Understanding Comics that’s addressed at youth”, haha. Thanks for sharing; I’ll have to put a purchase request in at my library.
I thought the same thing! I tried a similar program at my previous library and could really have used it… but there’s no time like the present! 🙂