Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Ramona and Beezus (2010)

As a child of a teacher with her Masters in Reading Education, we never wanted for books around the house.  I had my favorites, and I read a lot of the Beverly Cleary books featuring the neighborhood of kids of Klickitat Street, with Henry Huggins, Beezus & Ramona (and Henry's dog, Ribsy*).

It's been a long, long time since I read the series, probably closer to 30 years than 20, and so my memory is a bit hazy.  Still, I was amazed at how many scenes and references from of the books came back to me when I found Ramona and Beezus on the HBO in-demand options, and once the movie started rolling.  From the "kitty-kat Q" to the proper way to crack a hardboiled egg (a technique I still employ from time to time), to the employment problems of Mr. Quimby.

I believe this is the edition of the book I had.  Beezus was such a square.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kid Friendly comics! Snarked and Donald Duck


I finally read the first two issues of Roger Langridge's Snarked.  Well, I read issue 0 and issue 1.

Playing off the public domain status of Lewis Carroll's stories, Langridge has grabbed the briefly mentioned Walrus and The Carpenter and decided to spin a story from what we know of them from the poem (told by Tweedledum and Tweedledee in Through the Looking Glass).  If you can still track down issue 0, its pretty chock full.  Not just of story, but of the source material Langridge will hope you're familiar with as he mines Carroll's material for his own purposes.

He includes pictures by John Tenniel, Carroll's artistic accomplice, in appropriate places, but the art is the same mad cap, cartoony style I really liked in his work on The Muppets comics (also from Boom).

I suspect that, with issue 1, Langridge plans to make this a closed story, that has a beginning, middle and end.  Originally, I'd believed it would be a gag book, or have one-off stories per issue, but instead it seems we're headed off on a bit of an adventure.

You see, the Red Queen has passed, leaving two children Princess Scarlett and Prince Russell IV (aka: Rusty), but now the Red King has disappeared whilst on a sea-faring voyage.  And the kids (a) would like to find their father and (b) get away from the folks who want to seize power.  Our friend The Cheshire Cat has an idea who can help them, even if The Walrus and The Carpenter seem to be, by all indications, cheaters, liars and cons.

The Walrus, The Carpenter and the offspring of the Red Queen & King
Good stuff.

The writing is sharp, the characters archetypes but cleverly done, and its a book that you can hand a kid, but I suspect you'd want to sit and read it with them.  Its pretty fun, and the language is very well thought out.

And if you have a picture of what a "snark" (the much discussed but unseen beastie) looks like, you may send it in.

I think this is one of those books you're going to wish you'd jumped on early.

Walt Disney Treasury: Donald Duck Vol 1. and 2 (and more)

Oh, so!

Yes, I've been reading Donald Duck again.  I know, I know.  I came to Disney comics so late, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do.

I've had both these volumes for a while, but I just dug them out of my stack of comics I haven't yet read, and I plowed through them with pretty great speed.

I don't think Boom! will be carrying on printing these books now that Disney owns Marvel comics (a shame, because Marvel's collections edition has never seemed as together as I'd like) and Boom! was just really getting themselves together on their Disney collections front.  AND it was a nice compliment to the really fancy (but expensive) work Fantagraphics was doing on their archive collections.

Hubris, thy name is Donald
The two Donald volumes are pretty reasonably priced ($14.99 cover for a lot of comics) and contain pretty good stories in both.  I finally got to read a Plain Awful story in Volume 1, and the Uncle Scrooge/ Donald go into space to collect satellites story in Volume 2 had me rolling.  Both volumes contain work of the American creator, Don Rosa, who is one of two comics creators associated with Disney's ducks that all comics people should know (along with Carl Barks).  And coming off reading the Disney Four Color Treasury, it was nice to transition to the more modern Ducks era.

Its tough to explain the appeal of a Donald Duck or Uncle Scrooge comic to the uninitiated, except to say that Duckberg is a very well realized place of goofiness and big hearted skinflint trillionaires and good-hearted crooks like the Beagle Boys, and its fun to see Donald in one story wrestling with space flight and in another trying to get the nephews to school.

Don Rosa is, in my estimation, one of the most creative talents in comics, with great understanding of narrative, gags, character, etc... and its just a huge pleasure to read his work.  And I suppose it says something about how under the radar the comics must have been for Disney for this to be one of the areas where any single creator was able to make a name for themselves.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Super Pets: Books for Kids!

DC Comics and Capstone books will soon release a line of kids' chapter books starring the DC Super Pets! I know! I'm using exclamation points! (...because I'm excited!)

For those of you not in the know, back in the day Superman editor and controversial figure (aka: well-known jerk), Mort Weisinger was all about adding new characters and accouterments to the Superman titles. Thus, you got everything from Kandor to Beppo, the super monkey. Some stuff stuck, some stuff didn't.

Superman wound up with a whole line of buddies, the most famous of which is Krypto the Superdog.

The really great news isn't just that these books are coming, but that they'll be drawn by Tiny Titans wunderkind cartoonist Art Baltazar.

Sadly, I can't really justify buying these books. I think. We'll see. I'm a bit of an impulse purchaser. But those of you with kids should totally check these things out. It's a book with Beppo and Titano! How can you go wrong?

I think I'm lying. I'm totally buying that book with Krypto and Ace the Bathound on the cover.