Nonfiction Monday: The TOON Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics
Having spent my formative years reading Jughead Double Digest and Richie Rich by reading light, I have a soft spot for comics of all shapes and sizes. And thatâ€™s just what Art Spiegelman and FranÃ§ois Mouly have put together with TOON Treasury. A vast array of comics, from Little Lulu to Scrooge McDuck and all (popular and obscure) points in between, this is a title that should, nay, must be on shelves.
As Spiegelman and Mouly explain in Out of the Trash and into a Treasury, their essay thatÂ begins the book, Classic Children’s Comics is not meant for historians. In selecting comics from the golden age of the 30s – 60s, the focus is (as it should be) on young readers. But that doesn’t mean grownups can’t enjoy it too. In the foreword, Jon Scieszka says (speaking to adults) :
Dive in … And once you’ve had your fun, evolve. Learn to share. Pass the treasures on to the original audience these comics were made for – kids.
Page after page bring humor, excitement, and the unexpected. The comics are arranged into categories, such as Funny Animals, Fantasy Land, and Weird & Wacky that help bring a bit of organization. The back of the book has an “About the Artists” section and a list of suggestions for continued comics reading.
Whenever you try to compile the best, things get left out. Spiegelman and Mouly admit that plenty of important works didn’t make the cut. While I have heard grumblings about such-and-such not being included, it doesnâ€™t feel haphazard. They dug deep. I was amazed at how many of the selections (Scribbly, Sugar and Spike, Burp the Twerp) were completely new to me.Â Each comic stands on its own.
By childrenâ€™s lit standards, The TOON Treasury is a massive book. It’s tough for kids to get their hands on a 40 dollar tome such as this, making it all the more important that you add it to your school or public library collection.
Unprecedented and essential.
Review copy from library.
Be sure to check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Lost Between the Pages.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
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 email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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