Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Trip To the Bottom Of the World With Mouse: A Toon Book Review

I haven’t put anything up here for a while, even though the pile of stuff I should be writing about is growing taller all the time, so I thought I should pick one of the best off the pile and let you know about it.

Toon Books have consistently been publishing accessible and age appropriate comics for young readers for a few years.  They are a quality classroom and bedtime alternative to comic sets put out by education publishers.  Those sets have been fine, capitalizing on the current acceptance of comics as classroom reading material, but to me they always read like comics put out by publishers capitalizing on the current acceptance of comics as classroom reading material.  Toon Books read like great story books with word balloons and sequential storytelling sensibilities.  I have not liked all of the books put out by this publisher, but overall they have been quite good – and the couple I didn’t like my kids did (so what do I know).

A Trip To the Bottom Of the World With Mouse, by Frank Viva is one of the newest of the Toon Books and my kids and I think it is one of the best looking.  One of my daughter’s favourite picture books is the beautiful The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau and it was the first thing we both thought of when we saw A Trip To the Bottom Of the World.  If you have never checked out the Jacques Cousteau book, trust me, this is high praise.

This book is for grade 1-2 level readers but it would make a good bedtime story for anyone younger as well.  The vocabulary in the book is repetitive (in a good way) and it has harder words bunched by theme  (four things that can be worn in the cold: boots, mittens, a hat and a scarf).  The Toon Books website lists it at Guided Reading level E and Lexile Level BR.

Frank Viva’s artwork here is fantastic.  The Antarctic night, the animals, the cold – all brought to life in a cartoony storybook way.  It is wonderful stuff.

All Toon Books are durable,  and well put together.  A Trip To the Bottom Of the World With Mouse is a well-crafted book that would be a good addition to any bookshelf.

Review by: Scott Tingley

RELEASE DATE: September 25, 2012
32 pages, 9” x 6”, hardcover, U.S. $12.95/ $15.00 CAN

ISBN-13 978-1-935179-19-1
ISBN-10 1-935179-19-5

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