In the last several years, librarians and readers have come to expect high quality from Toon Books, and Tippy and the Night Parade does not disappoint. With this latest addition to their youngest level of comics, Tippy follows accepted beginning reader rules by using a controlled vocabulary of less than 300 words designed to be accessible to kindergartners and first graders approaching the written word for the first time on their own.
Tippy wakes to find that her room is a jumbled mess of animals and nature debris. After she and her mother clean it up, she returns to her bed, insisting to her mother that all she remembers is falling asleep. And then she takes the reader through a possible sleepwalking journey, during which she accumulates the animals, leaves, twigs, and other detritus that litter her room when her mother comes to wake her up the next morning.
The simplicity of that plot belies the beauty of this book. The artwork is done on a limited palette, with warm tones for the interactions during the day between Tippy and her mother and cooler tones for Tippy’s nighttime wanderings. The illustrations have a charming vintage quality, perfectly appropriate for a sweet tale. As with other Toon Books first comics, there is a mixture of full-page illustrations and pages with 2 or 3 panels. It’s a format that has worked in the past, and works here, to introduce comics to first readers.
The book is bound in the same style (hardcover, patterned spine) and size (rectangle that is wider than tall) that are standard for Toon Books. This consistency will make for an attractive set for collectors and add ease to locating the books on library shelves.
Overall, Tippy and the Night Parade showcases a child with a rich fantasy expressed in beautifully drawn art but framed in simpler language that does not diminish the overall effect. This is a work and a creator that respects the rich inner lives of children who are still learning the language to express themselves. Beginning readers need more books that are within their reading levels and still of high quality like this one.
Tippy and the Night Parade
by Lilli Carre
Toon Books, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: Kindergarten and 1st grade