100 Scope Notes
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An Endorsement: Comic Collections

Growing up, comic strip collections were as important to me as any single book. I’ve talked about Roald Dahl’s influence (in this Nerdy Book Club post), but I could just as easily talk about The Far Side and Fox Trot collections that piled up next to my bed during that same time period. It wasn’t until recently that I realized just about all of those books came from the same publisher, Andrews McMeel. A couple years back they started an imprint called Amp! Comics for Kids, and have been putting out collections that will go quite nicely in school library comics sections. Here are a few from 2014 to add:

The Croc Ate My Homework: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan T. Pastis

If you’re not a Pearls fan, you might recognize Pastis as the author of the popular Timmy Failure series. This would make a nice follow-up read for kids who have finished Timmy.

Big Nate: Great Minds Think Alike by Lincoln Peirce

Big Nate is no hidden gem – chances are you have him on the shelf already. But Amp! has a whole batch of Big Nate collections to keep his fans happy.

The Mutts Diaries by Patrick McDonnell

McDonnell has been wearing the cartoonist and picture book maker hats for some years now. This collection will no doubt do well.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson

A girl uses a wish to create a unicorn best friend: Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. Great name, yes? I can’t wait to share this collection with my students.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Agreed! My parents’ house has hundreds of kids’ books, but when young relatives come to visit for the Jewish Sabbath, when reading is one of the few activity options, it’s the Foxtrot and Calvin and Hobbes collections that they fight over. My own childhood reading was more varied, but I amassed these collections because I loved them. Looking back, I realize that they’re a primer on characterization as well as comic timing.

  2. Foxtrot, Calvin and Hobbes, and Garfield have been longtime mainstays in my school library. I started adding Big Nate a couple of years ago, and the kids love the new AMP! collections. I grew up with Peanuts paperbacks, so comic strip collections have been a part of my life for a very long time.