Nothing is more fun than a child giggling while reading a good comic or graphic novel. I’ve rounded up some great comics for even the youngest kids before, but that post is overflowing and now I’ve found more books! So, time for a followup post. While this post may not be long (yet), the comics below are fantastic. Funny, cheerful, with good art and stories that kids (and adults) can enjoy again and again. So dig in!
Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus Takes The Train by Sylvie Desrosiers, with art by Rémy Simard. Hocus Pocus is a rabbit who lives in a magician’s hat. The magician has a dog, who’s on the grumpy side and none too fond of antics. Hocus Pocus is all about antics. You see where this is going, right? This nearly-wordless comic has some of the most expressive cartoon art I have ever seen. There are simple words for sound effects, but pre-readers wouldn’t misunderstand any of the action if they glossed right over them. And Boy Detective, reading chapter books at seven, loved these books, because they’re so clever and fun.
Tao, the Little Samurai by Laurent Richard, illustrated by Nicholas Ryser, translated from French to English by Edward Gauvin. Halfway through reading this myself, I said to C-Man “Boy Detective is going to eat this up with a spoon.” I was right. At seven, Boy D is a HUGE fan of martial arts, video games, origami, cute characters, and cartoon strips with a good punchline. The first book of this series, Pranks and Attacks, has all that and then some. On his first day with this book, he read it at least once to himself, once out loud to his Grandma – and when I checked on him in the morning, he was reading it again. It’s cute, funny, and it’s about martial arts without being a book of fights! Unlike many kids’ books set in a school, there is no bullying and very little teasing, if any. The adults are respected (even if not always obeyed.) And there’s no gross-out humor. Finally, I love that the cast is predominantly people of color, since diversity in younger children’s comics is sadly lacking.
Boy Detective’s review, when I asked him why he liked it: “IT’S FUNNY!” And then he did a dramatic re-telling of one whole page so I could understand how funny the jokes are.
Hello Kitty: Hello 40, an anthology of comics by various creators, edited by Traci N. Todd and Elizabeth Kawasaki. If the kiddo in your life has any interest in Hello Kitty or art, check out this anthology from the library or give it as a gift. It has 41 stories, in various art styles, ranging from comedy to science fiction. It’s a neat project for seeing how different people can interpret the same character in a variety of ways while keeping the distinctive essence. Some of our favorite comics creators are in it, such as Art Baltazar (Tiny Titans), Chris Eliopoulos (Franklin Richards), Chris Giarrusso (G-Man), Charise Mericle Harper (Fashion Kitty), Lark Pien (Long Tail Kitty), and Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese.) Since Boy Detective is a Hello Kitty fan, this one had to be renewed at least once before the library could have it back.
Mr. Pants: It’s Go Time and Slacks, Camera, Action! by Scott McCormick, illustrated by R.H. Lazzell. What if cats went to school, ate at the table with silverware, did chores, played card games, and got tucked in at night? That’s the life of siblings Mr. Pants, Foot Foot, and Grommy LuluBelle, who live with their human mom. It’s Go Time starts on the last day of summer, when Mr. Pants desperately wants to play laser tag… which he’ll get to do as long as the dreaded SHOPPING doesn’t take too long, especially the trip his sisters are making to the Fairy Princess Dream Factory. NOOOOOOO! Neither Boy Detective nor I could stop laughing for pretty much the whole book. Even when there’s nothing specific happening, the sibling conflicts and negotiations are pitch perfect and hilarious without being mean. Slacks, Camera, Action! didn’t seem to flow quite as well as the first book, but there were plenty of funny sequences and we were not disappointed. There are more Mr. Pants books either already out, or on the way, so we’ll be getting caught up soon.
The Flying Beaver Brothers by Maxwell Eaton III. First, a safety tip: do not read these out of order! The plot of each one is not dependent on any previous books, but they will mention past events, and Boy Detective still hasn’t forgiven me 100% for the spoilers he picked up as a result. (I’M SO SORRY!) So, start with The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan, linked above. Boy Detective’s summary: “It’s kind of a mix of a heroic tale and a really funny tale. They save an island while making lots of really funny jokes.” Eaton has a gift for creating distinctive characters, needing only a couple of panels to establish each player in the story. He never lets the silliness run away with the tale, but there are sequences so funny that I showed them to C-Man out of context and he cracked up. The comedic timing is impeccable. For humorous animal adventure, you cannot lose with this series.
And that’s the list of comics for young children we’ve enjoyed lately! If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments – and thanks for sharing on social media or with friends!