Friday, March 28, 2008
How to read things so easy to read that you don’t even need to be able to read to read them
My daughter, Zoë, delivered up a classic deadpan review: "These books are good because even kids who can’t read can read them." True. Basically, they are (almost) wordless comics. You can see previews here.
Seuss used 50 words to write "Green Eggs". Seems positively profligate.
Now I see Runton has written a ‘how to read’ guide. I got an email: "For all you teachers out there, Andy Runton - along with his mother, Patty Runton - have just completed a very thorough and very friendly, 30-page LESSON PLAN to be used in conjunction with teaching the Owly series of graphic novels."
That’s awesome. A short book on how to read short books so easy to read that you don’t even need to be able to read to read them. (This seems to fit in with the ‘how fiction works’ thing, y’see.)
I tried the lesson plan out on Zoë. She looked serious: "This is good because it can help kids learn how to make comics." True. Kids are given an ‘icon dictionary’ to fill in. That is, they are asked to figure out what the basic elements are. Which is a pretty interesting idea. Zoë got into it.
Anyway, the thing Top Shelf has out now that I am most excited about is Hieronymous B. - which would appear to be Owly, written by Kafka. Here’s the preview. (I am compelled to report that you can buy it cheaper through Amazon.) I’ve ordered mine.
From another great alt-comix publisher, First Second Books, comes this great blog entry about narratology as collaboration. It’s not that the author is dead or the reader is a mindreader; it’s that you dance with who you came with:
Net rumor has it that Angela Banner’s marvelous Ant and Bee books are being brought back into print, at least in the UK. There were thirteen of these books when my own kiddies were small - now only available on ABE for hundreds of dollars. I think one or two of the big British bookstores are taking pre-orders for the new ones, which are perported to include Ant and Bee and Kind Dog. one of our favorites. It is hard to understand how they have ever been allowed to go out of print. If I remember correctly in one book Ant and Bee are able to turn the clock back to travel back in time, so -yes! - early reader sci-fi. Look them up.
"Ant and Bee and Kind Dog” sounds good to me. Never heard of ‘em. I’ll keep a lookout.
Thanks for the link, Ray.