Mungo and the Spiders from Space

Mungo and the Spiders from Space by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Adam Stower.

Mungo has just gotten a new comic book.  It’s used, battered and torn but his mother knew he would love it.  So when he asks to have it read to him that very night, she agrees. The story is about Captain Galacticus of Star Squadron and his robotic sidekick, Gizmo.  They are taking the Gobblebeast to the space prison when they are caught in a giant spider web.  A spider web created by giant robot spiders that are controlled and created by Dr. Frankenstinker.  When Captain Galacticus is trapped by the evil Dr and his army of spiders, Mungo discovers that the final page of his comic is torn out!  What is a boy to do when a story suddenly ends?

Filled with over-the-top zaniness and pure B-movie fun, this book will appeal to most boys who enjoy rockets, robots and comics.  Even better, this book takes all of those and makes a single great story of it.  There is just the right amount of danger for a preschool and elementary audience, just the right amount of laughs, and even some jokes for the parent reading it aloud.  The illustrations are very successful with Mungo’s reality being slightly blurred and soft and the interior of the comic book filled with crisp lines and bright colors.  When the comic book is being read, the outlines of the illustrations look aged and torn, adding to the feeling of reading the same comic Mungo is.  Add a great dash of magic, and the book comes together with a satisfying ending.

This is one of the rare comic-book format picture books that will work to read with a group of children.  With its mix of popular boy-friendly subjects, this book is sure to be a galactic-sized hit at your library.

Big Rabbit's Bad Mood

Big Rabbit’s Bad Mood by Ramona Badescu, illustrated by Delphine Durand.

This very quirky picture book offers a light-hearted look at getting rid of a bad mood.  Big Rabbit has a bad mood, one that follows him everywhere he goes.  He tries calling Squirrel but he doesn’t answer, making Big Rabbit’s mood even worse.  He tries listening to the radio.  His mood eats it!  He tries watching TV, but all he sees on the screen is his bad mood again and again.  Everything Big Rabbit tries doesn’t work until Big Rabbit decides to take matters into his own hands and get rid of the mood once and for all.

Badescu has created a book that talks about bad moods without being didactic in the least.  Instead, children will enter a world where bad moods are very troublesome and even pick their noses and wipe it on the carpet!  Frankly, what better way to show a child how very annoying a bad mood can be.  Badescu’s text works at a child’s level and will have them laughing along in no time.  Durand’s illustrations are what make the book so unique.  The animals are large and lumpy, often a strange color, and many have odd noses.  But their quirks are what make this book work so well.  The bad mood is shown as a large furry gray monster that is about as scary as one on Sesame Street.  Again, this book will work for children beautifully.

This book is appropriate for ages 3-5 and will be appreciated by those slightly older too.  The humor is great and the book is fun to read aloud.  Enjoy this whenever someone can’t shake their large furry bad mood.