When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A bookworm's breakfast - 6

When I was young, comic books were definitely among the many different materials I loved to read. I remember poring over Archie comics and books about the Smurfs, both appealing to me in that their bright and sequential illustrations added another element of interest to the characters and their stories. Many children I know today (including my own two boys) also find joy in reading this genre, and there are many excellent graphic novels and storybooks on library and bookstore shelves for them to choose from. In today's edition of A bookworm's breakfast, I'll share a few with you that we especially enjoy.

3-6 year olds: Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel

This is a lovely springtime book for young children, one that highlights the special qualities of the lives of both an earthworm and a caterpillar. While the two creatures have different purposes in nature, the story shows that each one is valuable, and the heartwarming conclusion demonstrates that friendship can endure even the most magnificent of changes. Children will delight in the vibrant illustrations that are often divided into panels or squares on the page and allow them to see character contrasts and follow unfolding conversations. Bob and Otto is a perfect book for children who are fascinated with the incredible workings of nature.

6-8 year olds: Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril by John Lechner

"He's small! He's prickly! HE'S A HERO!" School-age children everywhere will be captivated by the adventures of the sticky, prickly characters in Burr Village, an assortment of burrs whose regular activities include jabbing squirrels and chasing small animals. When the unnaturally cheerful Sticky Burr suggests the burrs plan a fun fair for a change, a series of thorny developments involving spiders, beetles, and unsavoury villains ensues. Luckily, most of the burrs come to realize that being prickly on the outside doesn't have to mean they're prickly on the inside, too. Clever humour, engaging dialogue, and exciting action combine with wonderful comic book style illustrations to create an excellent read for 6-8 year olds.

9-12 year olds: Amulet, Book One: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

(My 9 year old son Noah, who devours graphic novels as well as all other kinds, has written this week's book recommendation for 9-12 year olds.)

When Emily and Navin's family get into a car crash, their car and their dad (who is trapped in the car) fall off a cliff. Emily, Navin, and their mom must find a new home and settle down. However, when Emily finds a magic stone, and her mom is captured by an arachnopod, she and Navin must journey to the Charnon house to seek advice from their great-great-grandfather (and his robots) before he dies. This epic starting book in a series is the beginning of a quest taken by Emily, Navin (commander of the resistance), and Leon (a talented fox-man) to defeat the Elf King. The pictures in this graphic novel are well drawn. They are detailed and they help the reader to see what the author wants them to. Kazu's imagination pays off in this book. Because of it, he was able to create many robots, walking houses, mystical creatures, and more! I like how at certain parts there seems to be a glowing effect in the illustrations. It makes the images seem far more magical. If you like the Bone series of books, then this book will be perfect. (Thanks, Noah.)

I hope your family will enjoy one or more of these wonderful books that combine excellent storytelling with imaginative visual art. (Oh, and I think books make excellent gifts for Easter! Perhaps you might want to read some of the earlier editions of A bookworm's breakfast if you're looking for ideas....)

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