This fourth installment in the Cat Kid Comic Club series from Dav Pilkey is another triumph, not only because of its trademark graphic format, but for the inspiration within for young writers and illustrators. Join Li'l Petey, Molly, Flippy and the baby frogs, as they share their successes and failures in story creation with the world. They also provide an insight into the process of writing, with each chapter using either a slightly different graphic format and/or a different writing technique. In Wendy and Raine’s chapter about their dad’s life story, they use a traditional comic format in the illustrations, but have incorporated A LOT of exaggeration in the actual story. Gilbert and Curly learn about copyright and parody in their creation of Frogzilla. Summer and Starla use photography and the art of Haiku for their story.
There are chapters highlighting storyboarding, recycling toys to create completely different characters, using real life sequential images instead of illustrations, 3-D modelling, being an agent, getting published, and all the while learning to be respectful, resilient, creative and collaborative. My favourite chapter is Billie and Corky’s story Run Little Baby, Run!!! because it incorporates mondegreens – the misinterpretation or mishearing of phrases to create totally new meanings – and an order of two large French fries and a supa-sized shake becomes two large French flies and a supa-sized snake with hilarious consequences.
The thing I love about the Cat Kid stories is that readers won’t even know they are absorbing and learning all of these creative insights because of the very clever and thoughtful way Dav Pilkey writes and presents the books. Bright, colourful, humorous illustrations with large, colourful fonts, and funny, engaging stories that are quick and easy to read, are what capture the children’s imaginations. And the graphic novel format has been such a drawcard for reluctant readers. Many children who found chapter books a struggle are now avid readers, thanks to authors and illustrators like Dav Pilkey who make reading accessible, appealing and most of all - fun!
Watch the trailer for Melvin and Naomi's comic creation Chubbs McSpiderbutt: Easy Spider below
Supporting teaching themes include family, persistence, resilience, collaboration, respect, copyright, graphic novels, photography, recycling, storyboarding, story writing and publishing.
Find out more about the Cat Kid Comic Club series.
Find out more about Dav Pilkey.
Published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic
Release date November 29th, 2022.
ISBN: 9781338846621 (HB)
Highly recommended for ages 7 - 10.
When a parcel arrives at the Kelly house, no-one knows who sent it or where it actually came from. The card attached simply says ‘Good luck to you all.’ Inside the plain brown wrapping they find a jigsaw puzzle of a beautiful African sunrise. The family sets about putting the pieces together. Dad even sets his watch to Late Autumn to allow everyone time to get all the pieces in their right places. As they work their way through the cycle of the seasons and Autumn returns once more, the colourful dawn of the puzzle emerges and the jigsaw is almost complete. But then Dad discovers that – oh no – the piece for the hippo’s swim shorts is missing! They search everywhere, even under their dog Lucy, but it’s nowhere to be found. Then mum realises that it must have accidentally been put out with the rubbish! ‘We’ll find it,’ Dad says, and they drive to the recycling centre where they are presented with an enormous pile of rubbish. They start searching and, although they don’t find the missing puzzle piece, they do find other pieces of people’s lives like letters from faraway places, bus tickets, wedding confetti, photos, old socks and lots of shopping lists. Without realising it Dad has actually trodden on the missing piece and it’s stuck to the bottom of his boot. As he walks through the house it slips off and onto the carpet where Kitty, the youngest Kelly member, finds it. ‘Must have been there the whole time,’ she says. With Autumn nearly over, Kitty places the final piece and her sister straightens it. The jigsaw is finished. With enough stamps to cover its travels, Katie and Kitty post it back to ‘Sumwear’, with their own message attached.
From my very first encounter of this brilliant Australian author/illustrator with Greetings From Sandy Beach, through Queenie The Bantam, A Bus Called Heaven, How The Sun Got To Coco’s House and all the others in between, Bob Graham’s latest picture book is yet another superb example of masterful storytelling. With his signature style of softly outlined, colourful illustrations, and underlying themes of family and community, JIGSAW: A PUZZLE IN THE POST is in an uplifting tale of hope, togetherness, and perseverance, and of always being found no matter how lost you think you might be.
Supporting teaching themes could include family, recycling, perseverance, community, connections, jigsaws, puzzles, hope, stamps, seasons, waste, letter writing.
Find out more about Bob Graham.
Published by Walker Books
ISBN: 9781529503319 (HB)
Highly recommended for ages 3 - 7