— This is an update of a November 2015 post, freshened up and greatly expanded. Happy reading! —
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. The comics below are funny, cheerful, with good art and stories that kids (and adults) can enjoy again and again. So dig in!
Before we jump in:
- All comics listed here can be bought as graphic novels/collections, not only as single issues. Your library may own many of these!
- Amazon links are affiliate links.
- Need more recs? All my kids’ comics recommendations are here.
- If you find this post helpful, please SHARE it!
- Any questions, corrections, recommendations? Let me know via the comments or my contact form.
The Catstronauts Series by Drew Brockington.
Cats in space! Cat puns and cats doing adorable cat things, and they’re also super-smart astronauts who are brave and loyal friends! I’m honestly not sure what else to say, but I will testify that both the ten year old boy who loves cats and his 40-something mom who is neutral on actual cats found this series both charming and amusing. Your library probably has it, so give it a spin.
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 mention past events, and my son 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. My kid’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 my husband out of context and he cracked up.
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 our kiddo, who was reading chapter books already by the time we checked these out, still loved them because they’re so clever and fun.
Mega Princess By Kelly Thompson, illustrated by Brianne Drouhard, colored by M. Victoria Robado, letters by Warren Montgomery.
Fun graphic novel about a biracial princess named Max whose fairy godmother gives her the powers of princesses everywhere. All the powers. Which is kind of disappointing, since what Max really wants is to be a detective, not some kind of super-princess. When Max’s baby brother disappears, though, it’s the combination of detective skills and princess powers that helps on her quest to find and save him. The fairy tale and other princess references are satisfying for those in the know, and you’ve got girl power and a talking pony – what more could you need?
Mr. Pants: It’s Go Time 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 my son 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.
Mr. Pants: Trick or Feet by Scott McCormick, illustrated by R.H. Lazzell.
Normally I don’t fully review two separate books in one series, but I have to, because this particular volume is one of my top ten favorite kids’ graphic novels. Mr. Pants, Grommy, and Foot Foot have BIG plans for Halloween. The annual Zombie Tag game is going to be great! Trick or Treating is going to be great! All they need are costumes, which Mommy is NOT allowed to make this year. Not after last year’s debacle. (“I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be!”) But the costume shop is cleaned out by the time they get there. And Mommy’s bought them all airplane tickets to visit grandparents. WHAT?! Add a freak snowstorm and things aren’t going to end well. Or are they?
McCormick tells this story with so much confidence, setting up jokes early in the book that pay off chapters later. Chapter Five is one of the best things I’ve ever read in comics, and chapter Seven is a sweet fulfillment of little Grommy’s heartfelt desire.
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clayton.
Simple, friendly, fun tale about a friendship between two underwater denizens: Narwhal and Jellyfish. Perfect silly book for the littlest comics readers, with three short stories and plenty of waffles. I wish this had been published a few years earlier because I think my nine year old was just a smidge too old to fall in love with it like I did, but I’m so glad it exists because it’s so tough to find happy, fun comics that are a good fit for even very young kids.
The second book, Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt, is also adorable!
I Am Pusheen the Cat by Claire Belton.
An adorable little ball of fluff and cuteness. I’m flipping back through it as I write this and I can’t help but smile. Great pick for even very young kids or cat people of any age who enjoy a lighthearted cartoon book now and then. For extra enjoyment, procure a child who’s already read it and have them sit next to you while you read it and periodically laugh, so the child can lean over excitedly to see what you just read and laugh with you.
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill.
This book is like a warm hug from someone you really like and trust. The relationships and magic are more important than the light plot, but it’s a story about Greta, an apprentice blacksmith, who meets a couple, Hesekiel and Erik, who own a tea shop and care for the small dragons who grow the tea leaves. Greta also becomes friends with Minette, their ward. There’s queer rep, disability rep, characters with various skin tones, and of course the adorable and sweet tea dragons. My 10 year old son who likes a strong plot felt like “very little happened,” but my niece who is a couple years older adored it. So did her mother and I. I just felt so calm and pleased with the world after reading it. I’ve already pre-ordered two copies of O’Neill’s next book.
Tao, the Little Samurai by Laurent Richard, illustrated by Nicholas Ryser, translated from French to English by Edward Gauvin.
Halfway through reading this, I said to my husband “Your son is going to eat this up with a spoon.” I was right. At seven, our kid was a HUGE fan of martial arts, video games, origami, cute characters, and cartoon strips with a good punchline. (He’s 11 now and nothing has changed!) This series might well have been optimized specifically for him. On his first day with this first 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 full 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 – though no one should take this an an authentic Asian setting, so it’s worth discussing that with the little reader in your life.
My son’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 truly understand how hilarious the jokes are.
Written and Drawn by Henrietta, by Liniers.
A little girl breaks out a new box of colored pencils to draw her own comic, which we read along with her cat, who provides commentary. It’s about creating art, with a very light touch, and young artists and writers should find it inspiring! Or just a lot of fun. If Henrietta weren’t fictional, I’d give her a book deal right away. It’s hardest to find good comics for the very youngest children, so I’m always excited to find a winner.
I haven’t had time to write reviews of these, but I adore them just as much. One of them may be a perfect fit for you! (Blurbs may be condensed.)
“Tiger is a very lucky kid: she has a monster living under her bed. Every night, Tiger and Monster play games until it’s time for lights out. Of course, Monster would never try to scare Tiger—that’s not what best friends do.
But Monster needs to scare someone…it’s a monster, after all. So while Tiger sleeps, Monster scares all of her nightmares away. Thanks to her friend, Tiger has nothing but good dreams. But waiting in the darkness is a nightmare so big and mean that Monster can’t fight it alone. Only teamwork and a lot of bravery can chase this nightmare away.”
“It’s a beautiful day in the garden when Poppy and her panda friend, Sam, hear a commotion. Their friend Basil–who has always been known for his elegance–is in tears, because somebody nibbled his leaves last night!
Poppy puts her detective skills to work, with help from Sam, and together they set out to find the culprit. They start by interviewing the insects, but Ms. Honeybee, Madame Ladybug, and Mr. Bumblebee all have contradictory suspicions of their own. So Poppy and Sam test some creative methods to catch the vandal red-handed. After a few misadventures, they find the remorseful nibbler–and Basil helps him understand that everything tastes better when it is freely offered.”
And that’s our latest list of well-loved comics for the youngest kids! If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments – and thanks for sharing on social media or with friends!