Book giveaway – TOON comics for beginning readers

by DaniGirl on April 24, 2010 · 31 comments

in Books, Reviews, promotions and giveaways

Back in December 2008, I blogged about a set of books I’d been offered by TOON Books. Back then, I was enamoured by the concept of TOON books, and even more impressed by the product themselves.

Here’s what I said back then:

They sent us three books: Jack and the Box, Mo and Jo, and Stinky. The very first night, Tristan read the entire Jack and the Box book from cover to cover out loud to Beloved and Simon. That’s 30-odd pages, and he’s only in Grade One. I was so impressed! And it’s not an overly simplistic book either. That’s what I liked about these books, that they’re accessible without being condescending. Beloved and Tristan took turns reading the next two books out loud over the subsequent nights.

I think the concept behind TOON books is terrific. Beloved is a comic book and graphic novel fan from way back, so that may bias us a bit, but I think the comic book format really engages the boys at a different level. In their own words:

TOON Books are the first high-quality comics designed for children ages four and up. Each book in the collection is just right for reading to the youngest child but perhaps more remarkable: this is the first collection ever designed to offer newly-emerging readers comics they can read themselves. Each TOON book has been vetted by educators to ensure that the language and the narratives will nurture young minds. Our books feature original stories and characters created by veteran childrenโ€™s book authors, renowned cartoonists and new talents, all applying their extraordinary skills to fascinate young children with clearly told tales that will welcome them to the magic of reading.

Tristan was in the middle of Grade One when we received our first set of TOON books, and he read an entire book by himself the first night we had them. If your child is a beginning reader, you know how empowering it is for a child to be able to read an entire book on his or her own.

So when the nice folks at TOON books contacted me earlier this month and asked if I’d be interested in a few more titles to review, I was happy to accept — on the caveat that maybe they could send me two copies, one for my boys and one set to share with you.

I’d actually forgotten about the books by the time they arrived earlier this week. We’d stopped at the mail box on our habitual after-dinner walk, and the boys were delighted to hear that new books had arrived. We didn’t even make it into the house:

438:1000 Book club

(I swear, I did not set this up. I didn’t even have my camera — I ran into the house to get it when the neighbour admired their impromptu book club!)

Tristan had read Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework by the time they crawled into bed that night while Beloved and Simon (in senior kindergarten) read Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker together. These are wonderful little books! They’re hardcover, intelligent, well-drawn and engaging — what else could you possibly want from a book?

When I asked Tristan what he liked best about Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework, he said he liked the story and found the animal facts at the end of the book very interesting. He was quite concerned, in fact, that I might give away his copy by mistake — he wanted to make sure he could keep it so he could read it again later.

Would you like to win Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework and Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker? (I promise, I won’t send you Tristan’s copy!)

Here’s the fine print:

  1. To enter, simply leave a comment below and tell me a book you loved when you were a kid.
  2. Both books will go to a single winner.
  3. You must leave a valid e-mail address, and be willing to send me your mailing address if you win.
  4. Entries will be accepted until noon EST on Tuesday, 27 April, 2010.
  5. The winner will be chosen at random and posted no later than end of day Wednesday 28 April.

Thanks to TOON books for the excellent giveaway. Good luck!

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Judy April 24, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I loved reading as a kid and wish I had more time now.

One of my favs was A Merry-Mouse Book of Favorite Poems… especially the one about the kid who ate too much cake. It helped me understand and appreciate poetry. My mom sent it to me recently.

I also remember getting Little House on the Prairie in elementary school for Christmas and finishing it before the new year.

ummm do Archie’s count as books?

2 Anne Marie April 24, 2010 at 6:44 pm

My favourite book was Charlotte’s Web. I loved the depth of its message, and it tapped into my sentimental side. I reread to my son, Sam, this year. I still think the message is great, although some parts are overly sappy.

Another book I liked was The Little Match Girl–about a poor child who freezes to death on a city street. My God, there’s such a pattern here. I’m such a sucker for melodrama!

3 Fawn April 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Favourite book as a kid? Geez, I still read them! The Secret Garden, Five Children and It, Pollyanna, The Boxcar Children…. They still get picked up when I’m looking for something light! I can’t really remember what I read when I was a beginning reader, although I do remember that my mom let us read Archie comics. And I vividly remember learning the word “avoid” from a story about Jughead trying to get out of doing a chore he hated. ๐Ÿ™‚

4 Candice April 24, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Definitely Raggedy Ann and the Paper Dragon! I was amazed that Raggedy Ann was so brave when she was only made of stuffing and fabric. I had a Raggedy Ann doll with a heart printed on her cloth chest and I thought it was that secret heart that got her through her adventures. Recently, my mother gave my daughter a Raggedy Ann but it had no heart (gasp!) and I caught myself worrying (at 40!) about how Raggedy Ann would get through her adventures now. Talk about a story that stays with you…

5 Simon MacDonald April 24, 2010 at 8:19 pm

I love the idea of using comics to help kids learn to read. I got a lot of enjoyment and knowledge by reading the old Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics as a kid. Both of those books are now being published again by BOOM! Studios. Even the US Military was using comic books as military manuals back in WWII by comic legends Will Eisner and Jack Kirby.

A couple of good comics for kids learning to read are Owly by Andy Rutton. The books don’t have any words and use only pictures to convey meaning and action. They are a great setup for young kids getting into comics. Next I’d try them with Tiny Titans by Art & Franco. Imagine your favourite super heroes in early grade school.

I think if I had to choose a favourite book growing up it would be The Hobbit or King Arthur and the Knights the Round Table.

6 Marianne April 24, 2010 at 8:49 pm

My favourite storybook was “Pitschi” by Hans Fischer — a story about a curious little cat who get sinto lots of trouble. Our copy was in Swiss-German, and my mother would read it aloud to us, translating as she went. The English translation is being re-released this spring, and I’m going to buy a copy for my daughter.

My favourite single novel would be “Heidi”, but favourite series definitely Little House on the Prairie.

7 Lisette April 24, 2010 at 10:20 pm

I loved Matilda as a kid. Love love love it still ๐Ÿ˜‰

8 Lara April 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I read and read and read and loved the books my mother had saved from her childhood. Trixie Belden was a particular favourite but I’m always hold a special place for the books I first remember reading – the Bobbsey twins ๐Ÿ™‚

9 Sally April 24, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass the summer after 1st grade, and they became my favorite books to read. I keep a little Hello Kitty diary and listed all the books I read in it and the Alice books were listed once every 6-10 books. I must have read it over and over and over from 2nd to 4th grade. Then I found the OZ books and they became my favorites.

Sadly, I have no little girl to push those books on. My older boy has tried both (listening instead of reading on his own) and just hasn’t gotten into them. I suppose they aren’t really the thing for a 6 year old boy these days. He would love the TOON books though!

10 Carolynn April 25, 2010 at 8:17 am

I loved Judy Bloom’s books as a kid. Blubber, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, and on an on

11 Allison-Lee April 25, 2010 at 8:22 am

I was an avid reader as a child and still am. There are so many books I remember fondly.

When I was very small I liked the Little Golden Books and I think my parents did too. (They were the perfect length for a before-bedtime read.) My dad insists that “Mister Dog” (about a dog and his boy) was my favourite, although the way I remember it, it was his favourite.

My sister and I used to read Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends” memorize our favourite silly poems.

As I got older I enjoyed many of the classics that people have mentioned here: “Heidi”, “The Wizard of Oz”, “Charlotte’s Web”, “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, The Cronicles of Narnia, and perhaps my most favourite, the stories of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.

I could go on and on. I think there are a lot of new books out that are really good for young readers too, but I’ll stop now.

Thanks for the chance to win these books. I think they’d make a great addition to my kindergarten classroom’s library.

12 Joelynne April 25, 2010 at 8:33 am

When I was small we lived in the country, and the only grocery store carried a small selection of Little Golden Books that included a vinyl record in the back. That’s right, I said vinyl and dated myself BIG TIME. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My all time favorite was, and still is, The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey. Not only were the story and illustrations splendid, but the record had a snazzy song about the Poky Little Puppy that I couldn’t help singing aloud all day, much to the dismay of my Mom. My children read this story everyday now, but without the vinyl are forced to suffer my rendition of the song. ๐Ÿ™‚

13 Elise April 25, 2010 at 8:39 am

I think I loved Martine books when I was a child, do they even exist here?
I was appalled recently by the world they are describing: Martine loves cooking, ironing, playing with her dolls, at school she learns sewing but she dislikes any boyish activity… Can’t believe my mom let me read that!

14 Kelly April 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I was partial to Ramona Quimby when I was seven/eight. Before that, I am not really sure what I was reading! I also read the Laura Ingalls Wilder series on Christmas Break – still love those and have passed them on to my own daughter who is 8.
Wish I could get my 7 yr old to enjoy reading a little more…hint!hint!

15 Krista April 25, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I had a TONNE of favourite books as a kid, so to narrow it down, I will list the book I am most looking forward to reading with my kids – Charlotte’s Web.

16 Jen April 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I have a 5 year old who is capable of reading almost anything, but hasn’t yet made the leap to WANTING to read on her own. I think these would be fantastic for her!! As a kid I read a lot…I especially remember spending a summer devouring pretty much all the Nancy Drew’s, Trixie Belden’s, and Bobbsey Twins books I could get my hands on!

17 Alanna April 25, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Yes please! As a kid I think I read through everything in the library… twice ๐Ÿ™‚ I loved all the books by Edward Eager and E. Nesbit.

18 Mary @ Parenthood April 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I always feel curiously tongue tied when asked my favourite book as a child (too many choices!)

I liked Curious George. And the Jungle Doctor Books. Aesop’s Fables. Astรฉrix, Les Stroumphs, Lucky Luke and Tintin.

19 Michelle April 25, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I’ve got a bunch too. I loved the “chose your own adventure” type books and The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. When I got a bit older I read everything I could by Madeleine L’Engle and John Bellairs.

20 Meghan April 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm

I really liked Little House on the Prairie. Thankfully one of my girls also really likes tales from the olden days. The other one would like the graphic novels! They have such different taste.

21 Charlotte April 26, 2010 at 4:47 am

Favourite book? That’s tough. I can think of a few as I went through different stages of reading. When I was young I remember loving to search for lowly worm in the Richard Scarry books. Then it was the Berenstein Bears, “Bears in the night” – I recited that before bed every night. When I was 7 we travelled to Europe and my companions on the plane rides and driving were anything by Roald Dahl and the set of “Little House on the Prairie”. I read so many books that my parents had to freight a box back home because we couldn’t carry them all.
My books are all in the attic at my parents house. I can’t wait to go dig them out for my kids to enjoy some day.

22 Lida April 26, 2010 at 7:56 am

I remember feeling incredibly empowered when I read my first book all the way through by myself ( it was a Dick and Jane book , I’m dating myself) but I have to say my favorite books were the Dr. Doolittle books I used to borrow constantly from the library. These books sound wonderful. Thanks for the chance to win them.

23 Katherine April 26, 2010 at 7:56 am

These books sound so good. Anything that gets my 6yo boy to read is at the top of my list!

So hard to pick a favourite book from my childhood! I was a voracious reader (still am) and went for quantity over quality… I loved the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books – read those over and over. Just looked them up and the author is Betty Macdonald – and they’re still in print. How cool. I might have to pick these up too.

24 smothermother April 26, 2010 at 8:01 am

what great birthday gifts they would make for my god daughter. hopefuly to be passed down to the jellybean once he is reading.

i’ve been reading since i can remember. but when i was 13 my mother bought me the first dragon riders of pern trilogy. i was hooked and have read the whole series numerous times. even as an adult. nothing like th escape into pure fantasy every once in a while.

25 Laura April 26, 2010 at 9:48 am

I loved Little House on the Pirie book series. I can not wait for my little one to be ready to read them as well and hopefully love them as much as I did.

26 Tiana April 26, 2010 at 10:26 am

I was super into the Scholastic club when I was in grade school. For the longest time my favorites were all part of the Clifford the Big red Dog series and that was followed by the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

27 Valerie April 26, 2010 at 11:04 am

I loved the Little House books as a kid, but not so much when I started reading them with my daughter recently. They treated their kids very differently than we do.

I loved and still love “The Blue Castle” by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It’s my “head cold” book because I know it so well I don’t have to think much but it’s very comforting. I also love(d) everything by Madeleine L’Engle, and the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. I think my daughter will love them, too, as she loves horses.

28 Trixie April 27, 2010 at 9:45 am

Well, the Trixie Beldon books were (of course) my all-time faves, but some other Scholastic hits were This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall, Oranges and UFOs and Island of the Blue Dolphins. I can’t recall the authors’ names off hand, but I can picture every well-worn cover… ๐Ÿ™‚

(Sam absolutely loved Stinky. I think there are some TOON books in our future one way or another!)

29 yvonne April 28, 2010 at 5:21 am

Nancy Drew books – I used to save my allowance so that I could buy one every week. I was thrilled that they were in the hardcover section!

30 yvonne April 28, 2010 at 5:25 am

Just checked out the Toon book site because they sound awesome but they are shipping from the US so five books were $35 (reasonable, IMHO) but the shipping was an additional $20 US. I will look around Chapters and see if they sell them…

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