Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chick and Chickie Play All Day! by Claude Ponti

My favorites of the TOON comics for beginning readers are the Zig and Wikki series and the Benny and Penny series - my patrons seem to concur with me on this, as those are the most frequently checked out TOON titles.

Chick and Chickie looks like it's one that I'm going to be on the fence about. Chick and Chickie, distinguishable only by their slightly different colors, are having fun. First they make masks and scare each other.

Then they drag out a letter A to play school with...a letter A with a face, and flexible structure. They tickle it, throw it, bring it food, threaten it, and leave it alone, all the while discussing how they are making it feel. It finally runs away while they talk about playing with B the next day.

Like the other Level 1 TOON books, it's formatted in a horizontal rectangle, instead of the traditional easy reader vertical rectangle. Each page has a single panel, some of them running the length of the entire spread. The art is simple with the focus being on Chick and Chickie and their activities against an empty background.

The first episode, where they scare each other with masks, is a good story. It has suitable words, fun expressions, and a plot that young children will identify with and enjoy. The second episode, with the A, was strange. It was oddly disconnected and the two chicks manipulating the letter's emotions is just...freaky "When we are nice...he is happy. When we look scary...he is afraid!" Apparently, the author is well-known for his "explorations of the nonsense world of dreams" and there is certainly a dream-like quality about this tale.

Verdict: If you have a strong audience for the TOON books, you'll want to add this title, but it's not the most accessible and the oddly nightmarish quality about it may bother some children. The Silly Lilly series and Little Mouse Gets Ready are better choices for comics for beginning readers.


ISBN: 9781935179146; Published February 2012 by Candlewick; Review copy provided by the publisher

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