Nonfiction Monday: Zig and Wikki in The Cow by Nadja Spiegelman
Zig and Wikki in The Cow
By Nadja Spiegelman
Illustrated by Trade Loeffler
TOON Books (Candlewick)
If I were to stumble upon a time machine and bring Zig and Wikki in The Cow to the me of 10 years ago, me from 10 years ago would have said something along the lines of “whaa?” Why the surprise? It’s a comic, and an easy reader, and it’s science-based. This is a book that just wouldn’t (couldn’t?) have existed up until recently. But I’m happy it’s here now.
Squid-armed Alien Zig and his friend Wikki are going about their galaxy-hopping business when Zig’s pet fly falls ill. The pair decide the insect should be returned to its natural habitat – a farm. After landing on earth and exploring a bit, the duo’s tiny ship is swallowed by a cow. There’s only one way to get it back. And it isn’t pretty.
The dialog is snappy, with real-world facts peppered throughout. If you’re anywhere within shouting distance of a school right now, you know that the Common Core national standards are putting a priority on informational texts, including narrative nonfiction. Hitting on topics like ecosystems, soil, and energy, Zig and Wikki fits into this category.
Trade Loeffler’s vibrant artwork is clear and expressive, with basic panel layouts for easy reading. In short, kids will want to pick it up.
A mashup for modern times, Zig and Wikki informs as it entertains. We need more books like this.
Review copy from the publisher.
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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