Friday, August 31, 2007

A is for Awesome Idea! - or - W is for What Took You So Long?

Don't panic comic book people. Drop the mylar bag and board, put the comic down on the floor and back away slowly. DO NOT attempt to rescue the comic from your child even if one has jelly covered fingers and one is going to chew the jelly off. This comic book is not for you. Take a deep breath and walk away....then walk back and read it to someone that fits comfortably on your knee.

Well it's about time! A couple of years ago when I began the Comics in the Classroom website, and before I learned about boundaries (and well before I learned to sometimes keep my mouth shut and my typing fingers to myself when communicating with creators) I mentioned to a couple of publishers that it would be interesting if their characters were put into board books so us comic fans would have something other than merchandise to buy the very young children in our lives. They said that was a good idea and left it at that. Oh well. Two years later and I know of no other comic related board books other that the Atlas series from Angel Gate Press .

I just read ATLAS: ABC'S FOR SUPERHEROES , one of four board books written by Darren G. Davis and featuring the costumed hero Atlas. This thing is great. A is for Action; B is for Blast . It is written for ages 1-6 and most of the 26 entries have them in mind. There are a few that I wish were different though. For instance: P is for my phone bill which I think I forgot to pay , and R is for the red tape I have to deal with after I catch the bad guys. Kids are nearly out of the target age range before they worry much about the concept of ph=f and red tape is a bit tricky to explain to a four year old. But this is just nitpicky stuff. The pictures are vibrant and the entries are fun. That and it's a board book! Why hasn't everyone thought of this?

The price listed is $8, which is on par with all of the other board books kicking around my living room right now.

My nearly 3 yr old daughter gave this 2 READ IT PLEASE 's and my not nearly 1 yr old son kept trying to chew it. So, great recomendations from them.

BTW, this is the only ABC book that I can remember that has a relevant and sensible X entry. Can you guess what it is?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Review: Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little

Was anyone else out there worried that there might not be something for those readers that have outgrown Pinky Dinky Doo (she's new and she is awesome sauce) and are about to outgrow Junie B. Jones (if one can truly outgrow JBJ)? I was one of those, wondering who would take up the torch and fill in the roll of the precocious young girl wise beyond her years. But no more. I have found her, and her name is Moxy Maxwell.

“Now, Moxy loved the read books. She loved to read book so much that sometimes she would stay up all night and read. It's just that Moxy like to read what she wanted to read and not what someone told her to read.” (from back cover) Moxy has been assigned to read Stuart Little during the summer before grade 4 starts (there will even be a quiz on the first day!) and despite her best efforts, she has not read a single page. She has tried everything and she has taken it with her everywhere. She has tried every thing…except actually trying to read it – despite threats from her mother and the fact that it is now the day before school! Moxy has to figure a way out of this – preferably a way that does not include reading a page of SL.

The supporting cast of the book find themselves drawn into the procrastinating plans of the scheming nine year old. Some simple and sensible plans, like cleaning her room before getting started, and some more complex plans, like planting a peach orchard (I won't ruin it and tell you why). This is the world of Moxy Maxwell, and although she is certainly not a copy of the popular character, I think readers will understand why I say that fans of Junie B. Jones will likely enjoy Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little . The biggest endorsement that I can give is that as I was nearing the end of the book I got a bit nervous about how Gifford was going to wrap this up in a satisfactory way. Don't worry though, she does a good job.

Peggy Gifford has written a very clever book for readers aged 7 or 8-11. The narrator sees Moxy's point of view on most things, which leads to some humorous reading, and despite the name of this column, there are a lot of pictures throughout the book. Photographs (by Valorie Fisher) are taken by Moxy's twin brother and used to punctuate key moments of the tale.

I will be reading this book during the first month of school this year and I just thought up a great little project my grade 3's will do to go with it (and we will then send it out to Peggy Gifford and Valorie Fisher). I will update this to let you know how it went. I have taught most of these kids before and I know that there are some huge Junie Jones fans (both boys and girls), so I am interested to see their reactions. The book is perfect for struggling readers since the chapters are so short (including Chapter 7, which consists of the word "NO."), but the book gets funnier the better the reader can read.

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little
by Peggy Gifford
Photographed by Valorie Fisher

Published by Schwartz & Wade, 2007
104 pages
ISBN: 0375839151

Ages 8-11

Welcome to the New Branch of Comics In The Classroom...But With No Comics

As an elementary teacher I come across a lot more kids books than comics on a daily basis so I thought I would set up a blog and start reviewing them. I have done a couple of reviews on the main site already, but I thought they would be better suited here.

Chapter books will be reviewed by me and when applicable I will let you know what my grade 3 class thought of it.

Children's picture books will be reviewed by my wife and I with the help of our daughter,2 3/4 year old Mariah. I will let you know how many times she made us re-read the book before having to distract her with something :)

If you are a creator or publisher interested in having us review your books, you can contact us at If you have read a great new book that you think we should review, please email us the name of the book, creators and publisher.

Let us know what you think,
Scott Tingley
administrator of and