I don't know who first said it, although I'm sure I read it on a blog somewhere, but "surreal" is definitely the word for this book.
Jack gets a toy. It is a very silly toy. It is a very creepy toy. It has scary eyes. It has a big red nose. It has teeth that stick out. It jumps at you.
Spiegelman's art is layered and intense; the color scheme changes with the mood of the story from reds and oranges to blues and greens. Jack, the bunny, has a range of reactions from fear and anxiety to trying to ignore or lighten the mood with his crazy toy. The simple panels are generally set in three, one large, two slightly smaller, making it easy for beginning readers to follow the story.
We went back and forth on putting this in juvenile graphic novels? Because it's a comic with panels. Or in easy readers? Because the reading level is definitely easy. We finally put it in easy readers because it felt like it fit more with Elephant and Piggie than Babymouse. Thus are momentous decisions made.
Verdict: Toon Books are a great idea, but I'm a little doubtful about the appeal of this particularly title.
Revisited: This is pretty much how I still feel about Toon books. This particular title has not been popular, although more mainstream titles like Silly Lilly have circulated well. I feel that sometimes Toon sacrifices readability and child appeal to artistic sensibility and this is definitely true in this surreal story.
ISBN: 978-0979923838; Published October 2008 by Toon Books; Purchased for the library