Nov 3, 2010

Comics Cube! Reviews: Little Mouse Gets Ready

If you have any kids in your house or out of it who are just learning to read, or whose reading skills you may want to nurture, Jeff Smith's LITTLE MOUSE GETS READY is the book for you.

It was my niece's 6th birthday a couple of weeks ago, and since she likes comics (loving, in particular, Jeff Smith's SHAZAM: THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL) and I want to improve her reading skills, I got her Jeff Smith's LITTLE MOUSE GETS READY.

And she loved it.

For that matter, so did our entire family. The concept of the book is really, really simple. Little Mouse is going to the barn with his mother and brothers. Before he goes to the barn, he has to get ready, and he starts putting his clothes on. The entire book is about Little Mouse getting dressed.

This is Jeff Smith, so you know it's done in a charming, whimsical way. It's instructive (there's a part where Little Mouse talks about how to tell which part of your underwear is the back), and it's very easily digestible for kids. The example above is actually two full-sized pages. At most, there are two panels on a page. For most of it though, there's just one. The art is classic Jeff Smith; it's lush and it flows and it's really nice to look at, even if you're looking at a mouse.

There's an interplay of words and pictures here to keep everyone entertained - at one point, Little Mouse is talking about how he likes going to the barn and eating the "seeds" the chickens leave on the floor (yuck). And then there's the punchline at the end. I've read it several times with my niece, and it's amazing how what is essentially one long joke can keep her laughing over and over again. And she loves getting into the part - reading Little Mouse's lines all on her own.

More power to comics like this! Get kids into comics!


The Professor said...

My five year old and I read this one a lot as well. Thanks should go to Jeff Smith, of course, but also the Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman for producing and distributing comics that really work for beginning readers.

Duy Tano said...

I take it you've read LITTLE LIT? I've looked at it a few times, but it always seemed to me like something that was more an inside joke about kids' stuff. Am I wrong?

The Professor said...

I have looked at Little Lit. I'll admit, I am not sure what their audience is for that. Not my 5-year old. On the other hand, these books (3 of them, I think) do ask some seriously talented people to at least try to write for kids.

The "Benny and Penny" books that Mouly & Spiegelman put out in their Toon Books series are also quite good.

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