When my children were small I wanted them to experience the fun and excitement of comics, just as I had when I was their age. Unfortunately, most of the comics available now are more about the toy taped or bagged with the comic. Worse, the contents are full of PR, adverts and product. It’s a sorry state with now only a couple of publications worthy of your attention. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options.
Cinebook has been publishing a number of books aimed at the younger reader. At £7 a go they’re easily worth more than three equivalent plastic-wrapped comics. One brilliant example is Yakari, the little Native American and his host of animal friends getting into scrapes in the North American wilderness. They’re fun, colourful and your child will learn a thing or two as well.
This story involves a family of beavers and, in particular, a young beaver we’ve met before. Clearly depressed, he has detached himself from his family group and sits daily, alone, within the dam. The beavers engage Yakari to try to bring the young one round and it is decided the answer should be a flight with the pelican, something the young beaver has enjoyed before. Although this clearly proves just the tonic, the flight along the river gives them a bird’s eye glimpse of a giant snake right in the centre of the river, and dangerously close to the beaver’s home.
Cleverly, the tale weaves together a family drama with some Native American history. Although the giant snake isn’t quite what they’d first thought, the resolve is a satisfying glimpse into the native people’s past and the burial practices of a specific tribe. Presented as a mystery story, this has the characters wide-eyed with wonder and all working together for a solution. This allows the tale to remain fun, curious and educational without ever needing to descend into lowest common denominators. So an ideal read for kids.
If you’re still not sold, when I’ve been into schools to deliver workshops I’m increasingly seeing books like Yakari in the libraries. They’re a great way to get some reluctant readers to engage with books. And, as a bonus, they’re immensely popular with children that love cartoons.
Head on over to Cinebook website to see their range for younger children – there’s plenty to choose from.
And if you liked that: Another volume on the way soon.