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John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
Lawrence LaRiviere White
Marc Bousquet
Matt Greenfield
Miriam Burstein
Ray Davis
Rohan Maitzen
Sean McCann
Guest Authors

Laura Carroll
Mark Bauerlein
Miriam Jones

Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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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

Posted by John Holbo on 03/28/08 at 12:26 PM

Top Shelf comics - fine purveyors of sequential sequence image stories - has good new stuff. There’s a new Owly book. I’ve praised those before.

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:


By Ray Davis on 03/28/08 at 06:10 PM | Permanent link to this comment

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.

By on 03/28/08 at 11:18 PM | Permanent link to this comment

"Ant and Bee and Kind Dog” sounds good to me. Never heard of ‘em. I’ll keep a lookout.

Thanks for the link, Ray.

By John Holbo on 03/29/08 at 03:55 AM | Permanent link to this comment

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