If you’ve got kids who love comics and you’ve already read through Jenny’s list, here are two more that might interest them. Babymouse is a long-running series by brother-and-sister team Jennifer and Matthew Holm. The latest book, Mad Scientist, is #14 in the series and was just published this week. Although I hadn’t read any of the Babymouse series before, it was easy to pick up in the middle as this book is a self-contained story. Babymouse is, like Olivia the pig, a bit prone to daydreaming. She is also accompanied by a sometimes-intrusive narrator who makes funny remarks (sometimes directly to the characters).
Mad Scientist follows Babymouse as she tries to decide what to do for her science fair project. Babymouse, after a lot of dreaming and meandering, finally decides to do her project on amoebas, and finds a friendly one named Squish at the pond. And, by a strange coincidence, the Holm siblings have a new comics series that just came out this week about an amoeba named Squish.
Squish #1: Super Amoeba introduces us to Squish, a comic-book-reading, Twinkie-loving amoeba. His best friend Pod is trying to solve global warming, and their friend Peggy the paramecium is a bouncing bundle of sunshine (who is nonetheless not too bright). In this first issue, Squish finds himself dealing with a bully in the form of Lynwood, a nasty amoeba who happens to enjoy eating paramecia. Inspired by his Super Amoeba comics, he attempts to Do the Right Thing, which leads to some more complications.
The two books don’t necessarily need to be read together and I’m not sure that they’ll be joint stories in the future — think of it more as a crossover event, like when Buffy showed up on the Angel spin-off. If it weren’t obvious from the color schemes, the Babymouse series (pink with lots of hearts) is marketed more to girls and the Squish series seems aimed at boys. But even so, I think the target age (7 to 10 years old) is still young enough that they may not mind reading both series.
The stories are funny and fairly silly; Squish does contain a little bit of actual science, but it’s mixed in with a lot of silliness, like a planarium that wears a tie. The drawings are cute but somewhat crude, with panel borders and dialogue balloons that kind of look like something drawn with a Sharpie. Of course, the better judge of the books may be my seven-year-old, who has read through both books already and seems to like them. I’ve read them to my four-year-old as well, and she’s asked for them again even though I can’t be sure she really understands everything that’s going on in them.
Wired: Comics that young readers will enjoy, with a good helping of silliness.
Tired: These aren’t necessarily all-ages in the sense that the adults will enjoy them, too.
Disclosure: Random House provided review copies of both books.