Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you thanks to the girls at The Broke and The Bookish. Today we’re talking about comics, graphic novels, and picture books. I’ve got quite an eclectic mix today, and I’ve managed to fit in some Australian favourites, too. Of course, there are so many more that I couldn’t fit in here—not if I ever wanted to get this post finished—so I hope you’ll share some of your favourites with me in the comments.
~ Comics ~
Calvin & Hobbes – Bill Watterson
I’ve never been much of a comic reader, but several years ago (pre kids) my husband and I treated ourselves to a joint Christmas present: A three-book, hard-cover set containing the complete Calvin & Hobbes. That kid cracks me up! As in, there have been times when I’ve nearly died because I was laughing so much I couldn’t breath. Even better, the comics live on in our home in ‘Calvin moments’: Like when you’re looking for a pair of shoes, and someone asks if you’ve checked in the cupboard, and—lo and behold!—there they are; and you demand, “Who put them there?!” 😆
~ Graphic Novels ~
Asterix – Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
I’m putting this one in for my kids. I haven’t actually read Asterix, but my kids love it (thanks to my husband!) And you would be surprised how often he enters the conversation when you’re studying Roman history! So, here you go kids: This one’s for you. Love Mum. ❤️
Don Quixote – adapted and illustrated by Marcia Williams
If you haven’t discovered Marcia Williams, you’re missing out; particularly if you’re into classics. She has a variety of graphic novels available, including Tales from Shakespeare, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Homer’s The Illiad and the Odyssey. Don Quixote is a favourite at our house, not only because he’s slightly delusional, but because he has a whole ballet named after him! 🙂
~ Picture Books ~
Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge – Mem Fox
I’m glad you can’t see me right now, because I have tears in my eyes just typing the name of this book. Mem Fox is a much-loved Australian author, and this would have to be my favourite of her books. Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge lives next door to a nursing home, and when one of his favourite residents loses her memory, he decides he’s going to find it for her. The trouble is, he’s not quite sure what a memory is. So he visits some of the other residents and asks them, “What’s a memory?” Their answers, and what he does with them, makes for such a beautiful story my mother could never read it to us without getting teary. And now I’m the same with my own kids.
Waddle Giggle Gargle! – Pamela Allen
Pamela Allen is another well-known Australian author, who often uses onomatopoeia to great effect in her picture books. This one is a story many Australians can identify with! The magpie is a common bird whose warble (with a bit of theatrical interpretation) sounds a lot like ‘waddle giggle gargle paddle poodle’. They are also very territorial come spring time and like to swoop out of trees and peck you on the head (to the point where I can actually remember kids walking and riding to school wearing ice-cream buckets upside down on their heads!) This story looks at what one family did just so they could get past the tree at the end of their street.
Mulga Bill’s Bicycle – A.B. (Banjo) Paterson (illustrated Kilmeny Niland)
Banjo Paterson is probably Australia’s most well-known poet, and this is an illustrated version of one of his poems. Mulga Bill sets out to purchase one of these new-fangled machines called a ‘bicycle’ (a penny farthing, in those days), and boasts bravely of his prowess before learning that pride indeed goeth before a fall… And the pictures totally make this book!
The Man From Snowy River – A.B. (Banjo) Paterson (illustrated Freya Blackwood)
This is iconic Australiana. Arguably Banjo Paterson’s most famous poem (although he did write Waltzing Matilda), this poem is redolent of horse, leather, and the fresh mountain air of the snowy ranges. The Snowy River region is absolutely beautiful countryside, and I loved this poem so much as a child I used to write it out, over and over, memorising it as I went. It’s even been turned into a movie, and if you want the ULTIMATE experience, you can listen to the poem narrated by Jack Thompson (about as Aussie as you can get!) while watching the ride as depicted in the movie. I need to stress, there are no tricky camera angles here, and the actor did the riding himself. You may wonder why I say that, but when you get to the scene, you’ll understand! https://youtu.be/fs_-DKUimeo
Oh yeah, the book. 😊 It’s pretty good too!
The Enormous Crocodile – Roald Dahl (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
Who can go past Roald Dahl? Our kids love this book, and I love reading it to them. But it’s even better listening to Stephen Fry narrate the story. Although if Benedict Cumberbatch ever narrated it, I think Stephen Fry would lose. Sorry Stephen. #Nohardfeelings
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne (illustrated by E.H. Shepard)
Winnie the Pooh is such a loveable bear, isn’t he? I’m not sure there’s much else needs to be said, really. 🙂
The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter
I know, I know. I’m getting a bit clichéd now, but clichés exist for a reason! Beatrix Potter is another favourite around here, especially Samuel Whiskers and the Tailor of Gloucester.
Romeo & Juliet – William Shakespeare (retold by Bruce Coville, illustrated by Dennis Nolan)
You may have gathered we like the classics around here, and if you’re looking to introduce your kids to some Shakespeare, I highly recommend Bruce Coville’s retellings. He very cleverly intertwines Shakespeare’s original text with his own words to make the story easier for kids to understand without losing the beauty of the language, and the pictures are gorgeous. Romeo & Juliet is a favourite here, despite its miserable ending, because it’s also a ballet. (Yes, I have a ballet-mad daughter). But if you’re looking for something with a happier ending, A Winter’s Tale is another beautiful one we own, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream is also fun.
What comics, graphic novels, or picture books would make your list?