By Rohit C.
Dog Man by American cartoonist Dav Pilkey is a comedic graphic novel series. When Greg, the police dog, and his cop friend are injured in an explosion from a bomb, the medical team does a life-saving surgery, and Dog Man - the crime-busting half-man, half-dog creature - is born. Dog Man cannot speak as his canine nature seems to overpower his human qualities. He is seen doing what a dog loves to do - chewing on furniture, taking naps in the middle of the floor, and licking people. However, when it's action time, Dog Man’s human abilities enable him to chase away criminals. He is on a mission to bring peace and justice to the city.
Reading age: 6-10 years
Best features: Funny and quirky. The laughing does not stop, with loads of humor (one of several euphemisms for passing gas: “who sneaked a one-cheek squeak?”). The book’s characters can be drawn by kids as part of fun-filled activity.
The team-up between Scooby-Doo/the gang and superheroes of the DC universe is a funny and entertaining series for kids, as well as grown-ups who wish to revisit their childhood. It is exciting to see how the characters react to giant bat sightings, as some of them feel it to be the work of a robber, while others suspect the Man-Bat is behind it all. Writer Sholly Fisch manages to deliver an amusing experience for children, with great jokes.
Reading age: 7-10 years
Best features: Colourful animated style, basic writing, and funny punchlines that are sure to bring a smile.
This is a silent (wordless) comic featuring a friendly owl named Owly. He is always helping those around him. Even though Owly is kind-hearted, he is unable to make friends, as his would-be friends seem to get scared by the fact that he is an owl. Owly gets to meet Wormy, who is also in need of a good friend, and there starts the story of a great friendship and adventure!
For early readers, who are still trying to gain confidence with words, writer Andy Runton presents a perfect blend of words and symbols that can be easily read by them and are a great way to introduce graphic novels! The characters are all cute, full of innocence, and truly represent the way young kids see the world from their eyes. The stories revolve around friendship, loyalty, and nature. It is sweetly innocent.
Reading age: 4-8 years
Best features: Owly is a series of innocent, cute stories. It is a must-read for early readers, to let them know of good values, such as friendship and loyalty.
This is a superhero comic book aimed at pre-schoolers, featuring short, humorous stories and puzzle pages. Tiny Titans is not like your typical superhero comic book, as there are no fights or battles with villains. The stories are more about being in school, playing together, and sometimes exploring the Batcave. The art style is simple, creative, and appealing without being overly cute.
Authors Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani are known for creating superhero comics in a kid-friendly style. Tiny Titans have twice won the comics industry's top award for Best Kids Series.
Reading age: 4-10 years
Best features: Fun-filled comic book, with puzzles and activities for kids.
Abigail and the Snowman
Abigail and the Snowman is a delightful story about a young girl named Abigail, who makes friends with a yeti shortly after moving to her new town. She is a highly imaginative girl; it only makes it harder to fit in at her new school. Abigail meets an adorable yeti named Claude, who has escaped from a top-secret government facility. Abigail and Claude become good friends, even if no one else believes that he is real. The fun is short-lived, as the mysterious Shadow Men chasing Claude are hot on his trail. In order to protect him from his earlier captors, Abigail and Claude start on a journey to find his real home.
Reading age: 5-10 years
Best features: A heart-warming journey of friendship, loyalty, and imagination.
Little Robot by writer Ben Hatke is the story of a brave little girl who finds a cute robot in the forest. She accidentally activates him by pressing a button. Now, she finally has a friend. Little Robot has all the right flavors of fun, humor, and action that a kids’ comic should have. The story delivers a wonderful message of true friendship - which is fully accepting your friends with their differences. The illustrations in Little Robot, and the full spreads with bright colors, are awesome.
Reading age: 6-8 years
Best features: Great book featuring diverse characters. Teaches universal values of friendship, how to deal with disagreements, and acceptance.
An Elephant and Piggie
Mo Willems brings a comic book series for early readers called Elephant and Piggie, featuring two friends: an elephant, Gerald, and a pig, Piggie. The author uses a conversational style for the book; Piggie having pink letter bubbles and Gerald’s shows in grey letter bubbles. The characters are expressive, funny, and original, while the illustrations are simple.
Reading age: 4-8 years
Best features: Very relatable. It has a surprise ending, with a good message like “having fun is most important”.
Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas
Benjamin Bear is highly creative and has bright ideas to deal with situations - such as crossing a stream, helping a lamb cool off, and how to rid himself of fleas. The graphic novel has single-page comics that tell short and clever stories filled with humor. For example, the time when Bear was filled with eagerness to help his rabbit friend achieve his dream of having a house in the woods. Once the house was completed, not a single tree is left in the vicinity! The author is excellent at varying the stories enough to make the book entirely surprising and great fun to read. The concept of sequence of events can be easily introduced to emerging readers with this book. Since each story is complete on a single page, it is easier to use them for several different lessons.
Reading age: 5-8 years
Best features: Features life lessons on what to do in certain situations.
Maya Makes a Mess
Writer Rutu Modan’s Eisner Award-winning talents are seen in the toon graphic novel for emerging readers, Maya Makes a Mess. Maya's parents often tell her to correct her messy table manners with “what would the queen think?”. While having a family dinner, Maya receives a very unexpected invitation to dine with the queen. It is time for her messy manners to be put to the ultimate test and she begins to improvise her very own set of rules, with riotous results that are perfect for messy eaters or those who are not allowed to have their fun at the table. Filled with humor and superbly imagined detail, this comic book is sure to turn every child into an avid reader.
Reading age: 4-8 years
Best features: Hilarious, messy fun for kids of this age group!