A comic for brand new readers that will excite the imagination and warm the heart! 

When Penelope the Fox drops her heart into the sea, she’s swept off on a perilous journey, dodging sharks and royal cat- guards until a cartwheeling chicken leads her to the land of lost things. And as readers follow Penelope (and her heart!), they will learn what is truly precious.

Brazilian-British artist Thereza Rowe brings her bold, graphic, and imaginative illustrations to the storybook format for the very first time in a stunning visual narrative that works as a gorgeous stand-alone picture book while incorporating all the best qualities of a level one TOON Book. Hearts is a perfect entry-level comic picture book for brand-new readers, with a message that readers of any age will appreciate. This tale of heartache, friendship, and adventure will dazzle readers with its exotic settings and animals, and warm the hearts of parents and children alike. 

by Thereza Rowe

Price: $12.95
Page: 32
Dimensions: 9" x 6"
Available January 7, 2014

ISBN 978-1-935179-59-7 

TOON Level: 1
Lexile Level: BR 
Guided Reading Level: G Reading Recovery Level: 11-12


Praise for Thereza Rowe

“It’s truly wonderful stuff and it’s refreshing to see something so unabashedly playful. It’s no hard task to imagine that her illustrations would be enjoyed by children and the playfulness of them would really stimulate a kid’s imagination.”
    — The Fox Is Black 
“...beautifully infectious work hallmarked by a very distinctive 
signature style which is often playful and richly patternistic.” 

     — Aqua-Velvet 
“When you first look at the work of London-based illustrator Thereza Rowe, you instantly feel warm and fuzzy inside. Her vivid paper designs remind us that it’s never too late to have a childhood.” 

     — Poketo 

About the Author

Thereza Rowe is a Brazilian-British artist living in London, England. She says: "My favorite tools are color, shape, and imagination. I daydream about magic clocks, flying fish, enchanted forests—the list goes on. I work alone in the studio, so my cats, Flash and her sister Kitty, have always been my best companions (we talk to each other in five languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and...Meow-purr.) When Flash went to cat's heaven, it was like half of my heart had been ripped out. As I was wallowing in my own misery, suddenly came a wee voice: 'Whatever happens, never lose your heart. Everything is going to be just fine.' That's when I started doodling Penelope—I think of myself as a fox—sitting on a cliff, and I wondered what would happen if I really lost my heart..."

Learn more about Thereza at TherezaRowe.com, Instagram, and Twitter

— Order your copy of Hearts today --
The perfect Valentine's gift for someone you know!


This month Françoise Mouly, the mastermind behind TOON Books, is all over the news with in-depth interviews, feature stories, and reviews for the recently released biography by Jeet Heer, "In Love with Art: Françoise Mouly's Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman."

Even for those of us who work with her every day, we keep gaining new insights into her life, career, family, interests, and passions.  Enjoy!
Françoise Mouly - Photo by Sarah Shatz

I am so excited to introduce you to Françoise Mouly today! You might know her work as the art director of The New Yorker, but she’s also the founder and publisher of TOON Books, a collection of comics and graphic novels for early readers. Her vision for kids having access to well-designed comics is innovative and inspiring. It’s magical! And radical! On top of that, she’s a mom doing a fantastic job of infusing her career with the needs of her kids. What an honor to bring her words to you today. 
     -- Gabrielle Blair, Design Mom
     Read the interview >>

Los Angeles Review of Books
FRANÇOISE MOULY is the art editor of The New Yorker, the editorial director of Toon Books (which publishes kids’ books by comic-strip artists), and the co-founder with her husband Art Spiegelman of RAW magazine. I interviewed Mouly on the occasion of the publication of In Love With Art: Françoise Mouly’s Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman (Coach House Books) by Jeet Heer, who notes in his preface that he wrote this book to repair a sexist mistake he made in 2004. In an article he wrote about Spiegelman for the National Post,Heer decided to mention Mouly only in passing: “Leaving Mouly aside for a second,” he wrote, “it is easy to see that Spiegelman’s editing is an outgrowth of his intense historical consciousness, his awareness of how comics have evolved and where they need to go.” Heer’s partner challenged him: “Why should Mouly be left aside?” To redress his omission, Heer wrote a whole book about her. 
     -- Sarah Boxer, Los Angeles Review of Books
     Read the interview >>

Françoise Mouly is featured for the "Meeting" feature of the first issue of a brand new UK magazine, Riposte.

About Riposte: Riposte is a smart magazine for women. We're a new magazine which offers intelligent content and inspirational women in a beautifully designed format. We profile bold and fascinating women whose achievements speak for themselves. Our interviews are honest rather than being full of media trained responses, as the women we feature candidly discuss their successes, failures, work and passions.  
     -- Pre-order Your Copy >>

Order your copy today!
The eminence française or "powerful influence" behind scads of well-known cartoonists is Paris-born and New York-based writer and artist Françoise Mouly (Best American Comics 2012). Mouly is known primarily through her partnership with superfamous husband and cartoonist Art Spiegelman; however, Heer (editor, Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium) points out that in her innovation, creativity, initiative and advocacy over many decades, she has dramatically influenced comics and comics artists in her own right. Originally trained in architecture, Mouly was drawn to graphic narrative through Spiegelman and pushed him into coediting the comics magazine Raw between 1980 and 1991. Her work in Raw led to her current 20-year tenure as art editor of The New Yorker. In addition, Mouly recently established TOON Books to bring comics for the youngest readers back on the market.

VERDICT: Heer's detailed biography fills a glaring omission in histories of graphic narrative. Dozens of illustrations give face to Mouly's accomplishments yet are still not enough. This lively portrait of an editor and publisher par excellence will enlighten researchers, cartooning cognoscenti, and casual fans. Essential for serious art, graphic novels, and women's studies collections.

     – Martha Cornog, Library Journal

I met Françoise Mouly once, at the San Diego Comic-Con during its C Street days, when RAW was in full swing. She told me that I was the only reviewer who included her as the co-editor of the magazine. This puffed me up no little, but the main reason was probably less personal enlightenment then that I was coming off a humiliating series of factual errors in print and was being careful about these things. Other than the assumption that her name was on the cover for a reason, I wouldn’t at the time have been 100% clear on what Mouly’s contribution was. The problem is presented on the very title of the attractive little tome under discussion, which intends to redress the balance and yet bows to the utter commercial necessity of tying the product into the more popularly known Art Spiegelman.
     -- R. Fiore, The Comics Journal
     Read the Review >>
Jeet Heer is one of our best writers about comics, and it is to our great benefit that he's also a prolific one. I wanted to talk to him about two of his latest. The first isThe Superhero Reader, which he co-edited with Charles Hatfield and Kent Worcester. That is a collection of essays about that genre designed for use in classrooms, from three very good writers about the art form. The second book is In Love With Art, an enthusiastic biography of the crucially influential editor, art director and publisher Francoise Mouly.  Both books are quite good, and I think the Mouly one in particular could be read by anyone with even a passing interest in comics. For anyone with more than a passing interest, it should be read. It'd be a great travel book, for anyone so inclined: it's not massive, but it's dense, and Heer's prose is very pleasurable.
     -- Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Journal
     Read the Interview with Jeet Heer >>

Françoise Mouly - Photo by Sarah Shatz

The decision from Françoise Mouly:

Thank you to everyone for reading and giving thought to Neil Gaiman's compelling lecture on the importance of reading and libraries for young people (if you missed it, click here!). I so enjoyed reading through your comments and hearing about your favorite quotes and why.  Special congratulations to Helena Juhasz who submitted this post and is winner of the TOON Books New Releases Hardcover Gift Set:

Helena's Favorite Neil Gaiman Quote: "I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens: as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, over twenty years before the kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark ... sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is." 

Helena's Reason Why: This quote is spot on!! There's nothing like the tactile experience of reading a dog eared book on the beach, blowing sand out from between the pages, closely inspecting the printed lines and imagining how the artist created the illustrations, delicately propping up the book in the bathtub or curling up with the book while under the covers - or under the stars (with a flashlight). They require no power other than our dedicated attention. Long live the book!
I so share Helena's view and it reminds me of something I said in a recent interview on Design Mom that I'd like to share again with you here. One of the artists I work with, Frank Cammuso, pointed out that he can’t pull out an iPad at bedtime with his three-year old. An iPad is a window on an endless stream of excitement; it’s not a place to focus and prepare for sleep and dreams. But a book is! A book can be read every night and it will always be the same and different. It will be what your Dad read when he was a kid, and what you’ll read to your children. It has some elements that don’t change yet it’s a new adventure every time you reread it, because reading is truly interactive and the reader is half the story. All day long, I spend my days on a computer, making and manipulating images, reading and writing emails, finding information. A computer is a good tool, a means to an end, but spending so much time online makes me very aware of how special and valuable any ‘old media’ is, anything that is printed, frozen, preserved in one form, fossilized. It’s there to be interpreted. Every time you spend time with it, it remains the same yet it becomes something more. Whenever I hear from people who say that Silly LillyBenjamin BearA Trip to The Bottom of the World, or any of the TOON Books has become their child’s favorite book, read night after night, I feel hopeful for the future. 

More good news...Everyone is a winner!

If you submitted a comment to the TOON's Gaiman Blog Post by November 18th, TOON Books would like to send you a complimentary copy of Liniers' The Big Wet Balloon. In the spirit of Gaiman's lecture, we ask that if you don't have a child at your own home who can enjoy the book, please consider donating it to your local library or to a holiday gift drive for children in need.
Just send me your mailing address to francoise@toon-books.com by November 25th.  Be sure to also include the username you used to post your comment.

Gaiman Delivers Compelling Lecture on the Importance of Reading and Libraries for Young People

Here at TOON Books our mission is to create quality comics that children will want to read. Last week Neil Gaiman, the award-winning author of short fiction, novels, comics, and graphic novels, delivered a "spot on" lecture at The Reading Agency. He reminded us in no uncertain terms of our obligation to young readers: "We have an obligation not to bore our readers, but to make them need to turn the pages. One of the best cures for a reluctant reader, after all, is a tale they cannot stop themselves from reading...We have an obligation not to preach, not to lecture, not to force predigested morals and messages down our readers' throats like adult birds feeding their babies pre-masticated maggots; and we have an obligation never, ever, under any circumstances, to write anything for children to read that we would not want to read ourselves."
Neil Gaiman speaking at The Reading Agency. Photo by Robin Mayes.
The TOON Team couldn't agree more!  Below some more of our favorite excerpts.  What's yours!?  See below for TOON's Comment Contest.  Click here to read the complete lecture.


"The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them."

"Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child's love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian "improving" literature. You'll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant."

"I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places. If we read for pleasure, if others see us reading, then we learn, we exercise our imaginations. We show others that reading is a good thing."


"Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy.  It's tosh. It's snobbery and it's foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn't hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you."

"Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you've never been. Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different."


"I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens: as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, over twenty years before the kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is. Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them."


"But libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information."

"Libraries really are the gates to the future. So it is unfortunate that, round the world, we observe local authorities seizing the opportunity to close libraries as an easy way to save money, without realising that they are stealing from the future to pay for today. They are closing the gates that should be open."

"We have an obligation to support libraries. To use libraries, to encourage others to use libraries, to protest the closure of libraries. If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future."


"Look around you: I mean it. Pause, for a moment and look around the room that you are in. I'm going to point out something so obvious that it tends to be forgotten. It's this: that everything you can see, including the walls, was, at some point, imagined. Someone decided it was easier to sit on a chair than on the ground and imagined the chair. Someone had to imagine a way that I could talk to you in London right now without us all getting rained on.This room and the things in it, and all the other things in this building, this city exist because, over and over and over, people imagined things. They daydreamed, they pondered, they made things that didn't quite work, they described things that didn't yet exist to people who laughed at them."

"We all - adults and children, writers and readers - have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different."


Just post a comment about your favorite Neil Gaiman quote and tell us why!  

You'll be entered to win our New Releases Hardcover Gift Set, comprised of Patrick Eats His Peas and Other Stories by Geoffrey Hayes, Otto's Backwards Day by Frank Cammuso with Jay Lynch, and The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers!  Winner to be selected by Françoise Mouly in November, just in time for the holidays. ACT NOW for a chance to foster the love of reading with more young readers!

Visit the TOON Store for great savings on all of our Hardcover Gift Sets!
Win the New Releases Hardcover Gift Set with free shipping to any U.S. address


Argentina’s most famous cartoonist publishes his first English-language book.
The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers is “sure to be a favorite.” (Kirkus) 
Appearances at Small Press Expo (SPX) and Brooklyn Book Festival to coincide with U.S. National Hispanic Heritage Month

Ricardo Siri Liniers is beloved in Latin America for his wildly successful decade-long comic strip Macanudo, published in the prestigious Buenos Aires newspaper La Nación, and for his colorful, on-stage concert collaborations with Grammy-nominated musician Kevin Johansen.  

His work has earned him comparisons to cartoonist legends Charles Schultz (Peanuts) and Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes), as well as hundreds of thousands of fans on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.   
Liniers’ U.S. debut, The Big Wet Balloon, is officially released today by TOON Books, the innovative publisher of award-winning, high-quality comics for kids, directed by Françoise Mouly, longtime art editor of The New Yorker.

Liniers’ new book, described as “memorable” (Kirkus) and “expressive” (Horn Book), coincides with U.S. National Hispanic Heritage Month and will be available in both English and Spanish-language editions.

The Big Wet Balloon tells the story of sisters Clemmie and Matilda, who learn to revel in the delights of a rainy afternoon. Inspired by Liniers’ two young daughters, the book’s “intimate ink-and-watercolor vignettes” (Publishers Weekly) promise to deliver on the hype surrounding the famed Argentine author, who calls his style “observational, dark, absurd, sweet, and strange.”

Watch message from Liniers:

September 2013 U.S. Appearances by Liniers:

9/14 at 1:30pm – Q&A at Small Press Expo (SPX), Bethesda, MD
9/15 at 3:00pm – Panelist on “For Kids/Not for Kids” at Small Press Expo (SPX), Bethesda, MD
9/16 at 10:30am – Bilingual Presentation to bilingual students at Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC
9/16 at 2:00pm – Open Book Children’s Literacy Foundation-sponsored book reading to bilingual students at H.D. Cooke Elementary School, 2525 17th St. NW, Washington, DC
9/18 - In collaboration with NYSABE and the City College of New York, presentation to bilingual students at New York Public School.  Details to be announced. 
9/19 at 7:00pm – TOON Books All-Ages Comics Extravaganza at BookCourt Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY (with very special guests Art Spiegelman, Jeff Smith, Gary Panter, R. Kikuo Johnson, Rutu Modan, Dean Haspiel, Frank Viva, Trade Loeffler, plus musical accompaniment by Barry Blitt and the Half-Tones)
9/22 at 2:00pm – Target Children’s Area Plaza at the Brooklyn Book Festival, Brooklyn, NY

For review copies, or to schedule interviews with Liniers (in English or Español), please contact:
Kimberly Guise:  kimberlyg.toon@gmail.com    917.545.9724 
Brian Byrnes:     brian@brianbyrnes.com         305.433.0190

Françoise Mouly’s September Publishing Trifecta: a New Biography, the U.S. Debut of Internationally Acclaimed Cartoonist Liniers, and a Comics Curriculum for Schools!

For review copies or to schedule interviews, please contact Kimberly Guise at kimberlyg.toon@gmail.com or 917.545.9724

“Françoise Mouly, an editor and publisher of uncommon taste and creativity, and an artist in her own right, has spent nearly four decades transforming comics, pushing the art form to become more ambitious,” proclaims the back cover of a new release from Coach House Books. As the art editor of The New Yorker since 1993, Mouly has remade the face of that venerable magazine with covers that capture the political and social upheavals of the last two decades, from the black-on-black cover after 9/11 to the infamous pre-election Barack Obama fist-bump cartoon and the post-DOMA Bert and Ernie cover. And now, with TOON Books, Mouly is at the forefront of a new wave, where making comics for children is at the avant-garde of comics making.
On September 10th, Coach House Books will release In Love with Art: Françoise Mouly's Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman by Jeet Heer. (Coach House: In Love With Art. ISBN: 978-1552452783)

Mouly’s invisibility springs from her gender, her profession and her milieu,” says Heer in his preface. “As a culture, we still undervalue women, even (or perhaps especially) those as accomplished as Mouly. Editing, her chosen career, involves doing backstage work; it’s an invisible profession, often made up of invisible women. And the comics field, which Mouly played a crucial role in remaking, has long been even more hostile to women than the culture at large.” A cultural journalist and academic who has written for many publications including the Globe and Mail, Slate.com, the Comics Journal, theVirginia Quarterly Review and the Guardian of London, Jeet Heer sets out to redress what he sees as grievous under appreciation of a major cultural figure. “Mouly’s achievements, remarkable in themselves, are even more impressive given the hurdlesshe’s faced.” Based on exclusive interviews with Mouly, Spiegelman and a pantheon of comics artists – including Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Barry Blitt, Anita Kunz and Bill Griffith – In Love With Art is both an intimate portrait of Mouly and a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the making of some of today’s most ground-breaking books and iconic images. Through the prism of an uncommonly successful relationship, the book tells the story of one of the most remarkable artistic transformations of our time.

Also on September 10th, Mouly’s TOON Books, the innovative publisher that pioneered the field of “Comics Early Readers” with its award-wining “lovingly produced” hardcovers, will release The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers, a world-famous Argentine cartoonist beloved in the Spanish-speaking world.  With starred reviews from both Kirkus and Horn Book, The Big Wet Balloon  marks Liniers’ U.S. début. Available in both English and Spanish editions, Liniers first children’s comic is based on his observations on his daughters, drawn while standing in the summer rain, showcases the cartoonist’s masterful hand in a gentle, moving story of two young sisters who learn the delights of a rainy Saturday. With a self-professed sense of humor that is “observational, dark, absurd, sweet, and strange,” Liniers’ decade-long daily strip Macanudo in Argentina’s La Nación has earned him a massive legion of fans (with nearly 300,000 on Facebook and 200,000 on Twitter), a cover story in Newsweek Argentina, and routine comparisons to legendary cartoonists including Charles Shultz’ Peanuts and Bill Wattersons’ Calvin and Hobbes. This September, Liniers will travel to America to promote The Big Wet Balloon, including appearances at the Small Press Expo (SPX), the Brooklyn Book Festival, and a TOON Extravaganza launch event at BookCourt in New York.
And to complete the September publishing trifecta, on September 16th Mouly will partner withDonorsChoose.org, an online charity that helps public school teachers obtain the supplies needed for their classrooms, to launch the TOON into Comics Genre Study for Reading and Writing for 2nd Grade. This rigorous 6-week curriculum unit is aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) with daily lesson plans that culminate with a publishing party at which students present their self-authored comic books.  For a limited time, the unit will be available to teachers on DonorsChoose.org at half-price through a matching gift from TOON Books. About the new comics curriculum, Mouly proudly declared, “It’s a lifelong dream come true to witness teachers and administrators embrace the comics genre. We always knew that emerging and reluctant readers delight in the pleasure of comics; now it can be channeled to fuel a love of reading and writing. Once kids are on board, there’s a future for comics, and nothing can make me happier.”

No one can possibly accuse Mouly of slowing down when in fact she’s arguably doing more now than ever to advance comics by channeling her passion for this evolving literary art form to the youngest of today’s discerning readers.


To schedule an interview with Françoise Mouly and/or Liniers:

Contact Kimberly Guise at kimberlyg.toon@gmail.com or 917.545.9724

Last week, we were wowed by an unsolicited submission. Shipped in an unassuming manilla envelope with no note, these bright works of art are some of the most delightful coloring pages we've ever had the luck of seeing. Who is this mysterious artist? Does he work only in crayon, or dabble in other mediums? Most importantly, is he available to color every one of our future Benny and Penny and Benjamin Bear TOON Books? We invite you to take a look at his artwork below and wonder for yourself.
by Julia Phillips — Illustrations by Barry Blitt

"Comics are more than just illustrated books, but rather make use of a multi-modal language that blends words, pictures, facial expressions, panel-to-panel progression, color, sound effects and more to engage readers in a compelling narrative."

—Stanford Professor Emerita Barbara Tversky

When first drafting our mission statement in 2008, we turned to one of our advisors, Stanford Professor Emerita Barbara Tversky, for the best explanation possible of how comics teach kids. Professor Tversky puts it so well: “Comics use a broad range of sophisticated devices for communication," she told us. "They are similar to face-to-face interactions, in which meaning is derived not solely from words, but also from gestures, intonation, facial expressions and props. Comics are more than just illustrated books, but rather make use of a multi-modal language that blends words, pictures, facial expressions, panel-to-panel progression, color, sound effects and more to engage readers in a compelling narrative." Five years later, study after study has come out extolling the virtues of comics as a teaching tool. All we can think is...we told you so!

"Comic books have been shown to be useful for beginning readers, since the reduced text makes the language manageable for new readers. Comics are especially useful for improving reading development among second-language learners and children with learning difficulties."
—The Canadian Council of Learning 

The Canadian Council of Learning has gathered definitive research showing that readers who love comics also tend to read more text-based material and report enjoying reading more than their peers who don't pick up comic books. Reports the CCL, 

"Comic books allow children to develop many of the same skills as reading text-based books such as connecting narratives to children’s own experiences, predicting what will happen next and inferring what happens between individual panels. Even before children are ready to read text, comic books can give them practice in making meaning from material printed on a page, tracking left to right and top to bottom, interpreting symbols, and following the sequence of events in a story. 
Comic books have been shown to be useful for beginning readers, since the reduced text makes the language manageable for new readers. Comics expand children’s vocabulary by giving contexts to words that the child would not normally have been exposed to." 

Comics, the CCL goes on to say, are especially useful for improving reading development among second-language learners and children with learning difficulties. (It's no coincidence that educators of these groups are among TOON's biggest advocates.)

Students who read comics-format material, as opposed to text-only material, retained more information. 
— University of Oklahoma study

Heidi MacDonald of Publishers Weekly recently covered a University of Oklahoma study measuring how students retain information presented in graphic novel format. The OU study found that students who read comics-format material, as opposed to text-only material, retained more information verbatim -- and 80% of the students involved found comics "compared favorably" with the text-only format. 

“Every year, more comics are in more classrooms than the year before to great result." 
—Josh Elder, Reading with Pictures


Josh Elder, the founder of Reading with Pictures, wasn't surprised at the Oklahoma study's conclusion. “Every year, more comics are in more classrooms than the year before to great result,” Elder said. “Even the newly implemented Common Core Standards explicitly call for the use of alternative media – including comics–in the curriculum." Jeremy Short, who headed the OU study, told PW, “It was exciting to verify what some would say was common sense but some naysayers would say was the opposite of commons sense. I was shocked at how opposed a certain minority seemed to be to this format. The pencil, ball-point ben, chalkboard, and computer are all innovations that educators scoffed at when they were first introduced. I hope the graphic novel can be added to that list of educational tools that seem foolish to bemoan in hindsight."


 "The newly implemented Common Core Standards explicitly call for the use of alternative media – including comics–in the curriculum."
—Josh Elder, Reading with Pictures

Of course, we're proud of our books not just for their pedagogical virtues but also for their artistic ones. The thousands of kids exclaiming over TOON Books aren't so excited simply because they're developing their inference skills -- they're thrilled because they love making mud pies with Benny and Penny, swimming through the ocean with Nanaue, and journeying to the bottom of the world with Mouse. As Booklist pointed out way back in 2008, TOON Books are "a literacy tool to teach kids how to not only read but also love to read." And that's exactly what we want in schools.

"The TOON Books are a literacy tool to teach kids how to not only read but also love to read."

—Ian Chipman, Booklist

"Comics are a gateway drug to literacy."
—Art Spiegelman, 
Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Maus, A Survivor's Tale
By Amy Lee
TOON's new paperbacks are now in stores (where you can photograph them to participate in our giveaway), and we are so, so very excited about them. The new paperbacks feature a redesigned cover, a special back-cover TOON into Reading insert to help get the most out of our books, and are affordably priced at $4.99. Today, we'll be revisiting our three Level One paperbacks -- Little Mouse Gets Ready, Chick & Chickie Play All Day, and Silly Lilly and The Four Seasons

Unlike many early readers out there, TOON books are designed specifically for the needs of the beginning reader, from the words we use to the pictures accompanying them. Let's start with a few basic facts about Level 1 TOON Readers that you may not already know:
  • Our Level 1 books use a vetted vocabulary: Experienced educators and reading specialists proofread early versions of each and every book to make sure that every word we use is appropriate for a K-1 age level
  • Each Level 1 book usually features about 200-300 of these easy sight (easy to sight read for beginning readers) words, in short sentences
  • Level 1 books also keep the story simple, with often only one character, a single time frame or theme, and just 1-2 panels per page
  • If you don't want to use our level system, each TOON book is also levelled by grade, Lexile, Guided Reading, and Reading Recovery 
  • Every new TOON paperback is complemented by a common core guide and lesson plan, available for free on our website 
  • For even younger readers, Level 1 TOON Readers are just as wonderful when an adult reads them aloud to a child (and eventually, when that child reads the same book aloud to their adult)

"The way the best comics combine art with the written word to capture the readers interest has special magic to children--even children who otherwise shy away from books." -- Brenley MacLeod, librarian

Little Mouse Gets Ready 
by Jeff Smith

"Smith's deceptively simple style is a terrific match for a young audience—one- or two-panel pages that are elegant, lighthearted, and touching all at once—and a knock-your-socks-off twist at the end will leave children giggling. As a dual treat, the subject matter encourages the empowering activity of dressing oneself at the same time that its medium helps build visual comprehension and reading confidence." 
-- Booklist
  • A 2009 Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor Book
  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • School Library Journal Best Comics for Kids 2009
  • Pennsylvania Center for the Book Best Children's Books for Family Literacy 2010

Buttons! Snaps! Pants! Shoes! This much-beloved tale of a Little Mouse who just needs to get dressed for a big day at the farm will delight young readers, who will relate to the adorable mouse getting through the difficult duty of getting all his clothes on in the right order. 

Our Common Core Guide and Lesson Plan for Little Mouse Gets Ready 
TOON Online Reader 

Chick & Chickie Play All Day 
by Claude Ponti 

"No American publisher has attempted what TOON Books is doing, providing interesting graphic novels with educator-approved text for readers as young as four years old...Chick & Chickie [is] its first volume featuring the art of Claude Ponti, one of the most respected French authors of children’s literature. Ponti has a background in fine art, and his books contain stunning visuals, often with surrealistic dreamlike elements...The art is all Ponti, but the book itself is re-imagined for a young American audience."

-- ICV2

Chick and Chickie love to play -- whether its crafting scary masks or chasing around a giant red 'A,' these two little birds know just how to have fun. Kids will be enchanted by these two feathered friends, while adults will appreciate the sly humour in Ponti's gorgeous drawings. 

Our Common Core guide and Lesson Plan for Chick & Chickie Play All Day

Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons 
by Agnes Rosenstiehl

"This graphic-early-reader entry from TOON Books is itself an objet d'art. The slight story, in basic comic-book format, briefly and joyfully bounds through the seasons at the rate of four panels per page...Emergent readers will be drawn to Lilly's ebullient perspective and captivated by the uncluttered layout; the easy lesson on the seasons is a bonus."

-- Kirkus Reviews
  • Starred review in Publishers Weekly
  • One of Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books of 2008

Silly Lilly is a spunky little girl who -- like all spunky children -- finds lots to do as the seasons change. She and her faithful friend Teddy play in the snow and in the sand, leaping and jumping across fields in the spring, and sorting apples in the summer. 

Our Common Core Guide and Lesson Plan for Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons
TOON Online Reader
by Amy Lee
In 2012, TOON released seven new books, the most we’ve ever had in one year. In the spring, we released Chick and Chickie, Zig and Wikki in The Cow, and The Shark King, while the fall saw the premiere of Maya Makes a Mess, Benny and Penny in Light’s Out!, A Trip to the Bottom of the World and The Stone Frog (TOON’s first graphic novel!).

We’re very excited for 2013 -- which will bring a batch of brand-new paperback editions as well as some wonderful new titles -- but before we look forward, we wanted to take a look back at some of the highlights of the year. And don’t forget, TOON’s holiday packs for different levels include many of our 2012 favorites, at nearly half off the original prices.

Zig and Wikki in The Cow
by Nadja Spiegelman and Trade Loeffler
The fourth in the "Benny and Penny" series
Starred review in Kirkus Reviews

Maya Makes a Mess
by Rutu Modan
Named to the New York Public Library's 2012 List of 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
A graphic review in the New York Times
Starred review in Kirkus Reviews
Starred review in Publisher's Weekly

An interview with David Nytra