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Barry’s Best Buddy

Barry’s Best Buddy

by Renee French

Find it at: Your library | Amazon | Indiebound

Published: TOON Books, an imprint of Candlewick (March 12, 2013)

Recommended Reading Age: 3 & up

In a nutshell: I’m a big fan of TOON Books. The kids at the library are fans of TOON Books. L is a fan of TOON Books. They do a knockout job at making accessible graphic novels, giving kids the early confidence they need to keep coming back for more.

Barry’s Best Buddy is their latest comic for brand-new readers. Barry, the grumpy the bird, is awoken from a nap in his dull house by his friend Polorhog who promises a surprise for Barry. The two set off on a stroll, making a stop at the hat shop, even though Barry does not like hats. They stop at the ice cream stand, even though Barry does not like ice cream, but gives into the tasty treat. On almost every page is the mysterious presence of ants, marching along with peculiar objects such as light blubs, paint, rope, and pendants that prompt the reader to wonder if they have a role in Polorhog’s surprise at the end of their journey.

Renee French’s soft, playful illustrations are eye-catching and pair perfectly with the friends’ humorous episode of their friendship of opposite personalities. I do side with the concern of this reviewer that the format of Barry’s Best Buddy could be slightly confusing for a beginning reader. The dialog follows a continuous path where the characters appear multiple times in a single panel, which might be difficult for the new reader to follow. So, be aware of this if the reader has not yet acquired intuitive reading skills, as it requires some comic literacy beyond the very early reader. My suggestion when you read Barry’s Best Buddy with a beginning reader is to be sure to point to the character/word bubble next in the dialogue sequence, guiding them in Barry and Polorhog’s exchange. It will make for a good exercise in learning how to read comics.

Extras: Read about Barry’s Best Buddy, the author Renee French, and preview the book on the Toon Books website.

Also, TOON Books has an incredible amount of resources available to parents, kids, and educators. Like these lesson plans, and instructional on “How to Read Comics”, a DIY cartoon guide, and free printable coloring pages.

Source of book reviewed: I won a copy of this title from a TOON Book giveaway.

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