Tuesday, June 18, 2013

#ReadItMD13 - "Comics and Magazines Week" - My Friend Fred the Plant by Daniel Cleary and Kanako Usui (Blue Apple Books)














We're celebrating brilliant comics and magazines as part of our #ReadItMD13 (ReadItMummiesandDaddies2013) campaign so we thought we'd look at some comics that are suitable for the very young. It's actually a bit of a struggle to find truly child-friendly comics that demonstrate perfectly how a comic strip narrative can deliver a combination of a great story when coupled with strip-format visuals.

In "My Friend Fred, the Plant" - a book from the Blue Apple "Bubble Toons" range by various authors and artists, you have two characters and a plant - and that's it. But because of the format, and because of the exchange of dialogue between the two main characters, you get a tale that describes perfectly that "imaginary friend" thing that some children go through, here symbolised by a fun-loving ginger moggy who befriends a lovely sunflower.

Another cat is passing by, and wonders just who the ginger moggy is talking to. When ginger tells him, he scoffs at first but when he's tasked with looking after Fred (the plant), things take an unexpected turn.

The fun here is in the exchanges between Ginger and Fred (Do they dance? You'll have to read the book to find out!) Children will love the two sides of the 'disagreement' as the uber-cynical cat doesn't believe Ginger's claims that he can converse with Fred. Soon though, the cynical cat learns that friendship can sometimes be weird, but it's strong and worthwhile nonetheless.

Kanako Usui's Kawaii art style compliments the easy flowing text, and this book is tidy and tiny enough to tuck into a back pocket or an overnight bag for those long summer stays at relatives or friends.

We'll be taking another look at the Bubble Toons range very soon. Definitely check them out if you're looking for a nice easy way to introduce children to a comic strip format.

Charlotte's best bit: Cynical cat's panic when Fred starts to wilt in the sun.

Daddy's favourite bit: A great easy read (comic strips aren't always the easiest thing to read aloud), and a nice little moral tale.

(Kindly sent to us for review by the awesome Mat at PGUK / Blue Apple)

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