Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics


I visited my grandparents' house every Sunday throughout my childhood. I tell the story often of going up to her attic each week and choosing a new Nancy Drew book. But, until recently, I had forgotten about the trunk of comic books that they had in the entrance hall. A chest filled to the top with magazines and comic books. I loved going into that trunk to see what I might find. It was packed full with great reads. I was not an avid comic book reader but it was fun to read a few comic books each week at my Grandma's while the adults chatted. I am not sure if it was more fun to hunt around in the trunk to see what I might find or to actually read the books. Either way, I have great memories of many of the comics I read there. Some of my favorite were Little Lulu, anything with Disney Characters, Richie Rich, Dennis the Menace and Archie's gang. I hadn't realized what a role these comics had in my reading life until I discovered the new book THE TOON TREASURY OF CLASSIC CHILDREN'S COMICS selected and edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly . So many of my favorite characters as well as some stories and characters I had forgotten about these nearly 350 pages.

The book is divided into sections--giving categories to some of the comics that the editors hope are rediscovered by today's children-especially those who love graphic novels. There is a chapter of comics about kids (the first being Clifford by Jules Feiffer!), a chapter about Funny Animals, Fantasyland and more. So many great comics from the 1930s to the 1960s. Treasury is definitely the right word for this collection!

The introduction to the treasury is by Jon Scieszka and he shares his own experiences with comics as a child and some history of comics. There is also an introduction for grown-ups about the comic book in general, complete with a photo of a Comic Book burning in 1949. The editors make a case for comic books and the that parents might have in sharing our old favorites with our children.

This is a huge book and I am excited to put it on the shelves in the library. I am still trying to figure out how to house more comic books in the library since graphic novels are so popular. I can't keep them on the shelves. So I am sure that this book will definitely be a hit. It would also make a great holiday gift!

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