Comic Books that Teach: Toon Graphics

When I was a kid I was a sucker for “Classic Illustrated;” a series of comic books that retold literary masterpieces in a cartoon format.
  Looking back, it was a graphic novel ahead of its time.

It was my introduction to books like The Three Musketeers, Swiss Family Robinson and A Tale of Two CitiesThe publisher, Elliott Publishing, went out of business in the 1970’s but you can occasionally see a reprint.  I thought its demise to be a shame so I had to smile when I saw the New York Times article, “Comic Books Even Teachers Can Love.” 


It appears that I can thank Francoise Mouly and her Toon Graphics for bringing comic books to the classroom.  The article cites Ms. Mouly as endeavoring “to make the comic book more acceptable to teachers.” 

I have to tell you, it’s amazing that anyone still  has to make the case.  Comic books have always been a wonderful gateway to literacy and provide a vivid way of seeing the world and understanding an author’s vision which may escape young readers who are deterred by at times turgid prose.

Her imprint, Toon Graphics, has a clean, contemporary look that is designed for children (and I think some adults) in the fourth grade and older.  Her Hansel and Gretel features the writing of none other than horror king Neil Gaiman.  For her efforts, she has won the admiration of  the American Library Association, parents and, oh yes, children. 



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