Why didn’t anyone think of this before? Kids love comics: for many, it’s a way to learn to read, with visuals and words tied together closely. Some picture books are almost like comics themselves, with the action taking place in the picture and most of the words consisting of dialogue (think Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, for instance). And, of course, nursery rhymes are also great for young brains who latch onto rhymes and silly tales.
Nursery Rhyme Comics, out last month from First Second, features 50 classic nursery rhymes, each illustrated in comics form by a different cartoonist. I won’t list all the authors — you can see the full list here — but the list is broad and diverse, and includes a lot of folks whose books I’ve been reading lately: Vera Brosgol, Ben Hatke, Sara Varon, Gene Luen Yang, Craig Thompson … There are folks who have been cartooning and illustrating for decades (Jules Feiffer, for instance) and there are folks who have published their first books within the past year.
It’s delightful to see what each artist has done with their rhyme. Some of them do a fairly straightforward, literal translation, but others take a familiar phrase and come at it sideways, turning it into something brand new.
As with most anthologies, there are some that I like better than others, but it’s a great showcase of a lot of different artwork and styles. If you’ve got kids who like comics, this is a great jumping-off point into other comics by these artists, many of whom have kid-friendly books. (But check first! Some artists usually write for teens or adults instead.)
It’s a gorgeous book, and unlike many comics books for kids it’s actually a hardcover, picture book-sized, so it’s built to last and is perfect for bedtime story reading. Even if your kids are a little older, if they like comics they’ll enjoy this fresh new take on old favorites. My own kids have really loved it, and I’ve had a blast sharing it with them.
You can read an excerpt of the book here, but really you should just get the whole thing.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy for review purposes.