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Comic books for a seven-year-old?
September 16, 2004 12:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for comic books that would appeal to my seven-year old son, who needs a little motivation to practice his reading. He's into the usual stuff: killer robots, yu-gi-oh, explosions. I'm wondering if there is a good graphic novel written at his level. The only thing I've found is a weird, simplified photo-novel of Star Wars. And Captain Underpants, of course.
posted by mecran01 to Writing & Language (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
kochalkakhan!
he's got great stuff just for kids (peanut butter & jeremy, etc) and both kids and adults.
also the new peanuts collections, que existential
oy, i could go on... (maybe later)
posted by ethylene at 12:25 PM on September 16, 2004


Ack! Just found this link to graphic novels, sorted by age range:

http://sidekicks.noflyingnotights.com/
posted by mecran01 at 12:40 PM on September 16, 2004


My first thought are the Tintin books. I loved them at that age.

My second thought isn't graphic, but it's illustrated: Anything by Shel Silverstein worked for me.
posted by o2b at 12:52 PM on September 16, 2004 [1 favorite]


If he's into Yu-gi-oh, the obvious choice is the (English language) version of Shonen Jump magazine. Comics magazine the size of a (non-huge) phone book, including such favorites as Dragonball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh. $30 will get you a 12-issue subscription. Free samples are available online. Probably not a truly great graphic novel, but considering his interests, he'd probably enjoy it.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 1:10 PM on September 16, 2004 [1 favorite]


It may be more of a read-to-him book, but my nieces and nefews, who are yours son's age and younger, love Jeff Smith's (of Bone fame) Stupid, Stupid Rat-tails. All three are collected in a nice quality trade paperback. Bone itself might be good for your boy; the language isn't hard, there's nothing particularly objectionable in the storyline and the drawing is great.
posted by bonehead at 1:22 PM on September 16, 2004


There are lots of ilustrated Tolkein books out there that aren't "comic books" per se but amount to the same thing. He's almost at the age where he might like reading The Hobbit even without illustrations.

In addition to Tintin, the less-known but totally great Asterix books are hilarious, action-packed, and educational in an international kind of way. The Golden Sickle is a good one if you want a specific recommendation. Oh, and there are lots of them. Like 30.
posted by scarabic at 1:37 PM on September 16, 2004


i was just going to mention asterix and tintin as well, and i use to sneak into the store to read the giving tree all the time.
also, i was thinking of getting the gnome and faerie books illustrated books. in fact if i reccommend you i can get them for free and you can all the ones mentioned, six for a dollar plus one at normal price in two years with the quality paperback book club.
i don't really wanna plug them but they do have good deals on sets and childrens stuff, best sellers, etc.
posted by ethylene at 1:45 PM on September 16, 2004


For god's sake, please steer your child away from the likes of Yu-Gi-Oh, Shonen Jump, and all that crap. The comics, tv shows, and movies of that genre are nothing more than commercials to drive sales of action figures and CCG's (that's Collectible Card Games, which solely exist to get you to buy more of them).

When I was your son's age, I read D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths about a zillion times. It's big, colorful, and has all the great myths.
posted by mkultra at 1:49 PM on September 16, 2004


kochalkakhan!
he's got great stuff just for kids (peanut butter & jeremy, etc) and both kids and adults.


You will want to screen the James Kochalka stuff first though. He uses the same drawing style for his kids stuff and his adult stuff, so you need to check which is which. I know with his albums at least, he has a tendency to put kid-friendly stuff (Hockey Monkey) on the same CD with songs you may not want your child to be singing the next day at school (Pony the Penis, Put Down the Gun). Don’t take this as discouragement though; his kid-friendly stuff is great.

For the more standard comic fare, DC puts out kid-friendly comics to coincide with most of their cartoons. Marvel also has the “Marvel Age” line, which re-tells stories from the 60s and 70s with an updated (anime-ish?) art style.
posted by Gary at 2:08 PM on September 16, 2004


As Tintin and Asterix (great favorites of my eight year-old!) are taken I'll vote for Fungus The Bogeyman -- all the great pictures but more words than most Raymond Briggs, plus it has the "uck" factor that most kid love.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 2:22 PM on September 16, 2004


Goodbye Flippy Rice was good. He might be old enough to appreciate it.
posted by luriete at 2:25 PM on September 16, 2004


Goodbye Chunky Rice? I haven't actually read it, but Craig Thompson's blankets was really good, though not for a seven year old... plus, I enjoy pointing out other people's mistakes :) ).
posted by Gary at 2:29 PM on September 16, 2004


Tintin.

Tintin again.

And more Tintin.

(And maybe DC's Justice League Adventures.)
posted by jdroth at 2:30 PM on September 16, 2004


For god's sake, please steer your child away from the likes of Yu-Gi-Oh, Shonen Jump, and all that crap. The comics, tv shows, and movies of that genre are nothing more than commercials to drive sales of action figures and CCG's (that's Collectible Card Games, which solely exist to get you to buy more of them).

This is true of Yu-Gi-Oh, yes, but not Shonen Jump. Right now Yu-Gi-Oh and Dragonball (Z) are the only "card game and toy" comics they're running - everything else is the usual adventure fare, no more or less commercial than most other kid-friendly comic books. In my opinion, One Piece, Naruto, Rurouni Kenshin, and Hikaru no Go are more than worth the trouble it takes to flip past Yu-Gi-Oh and Dragonball Z... and most kids grow out of the thinly-veiled advertisement comics quickly enough, anyway.
posted by vorfeed at 2:37 PM on September 16, 2004


I second Asterix, as a kid I thought it was much funnier and enjoyable than Tintin.
posted by riffola at 2:45 PM on September 16, 2004


Hang me, but Captian Underpants is really funny and kids love it.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 2:46 PM on September 16, 2004


For god's sake, please steer your child away from the likes of Yu-Gi-Oh, Shonen Jump, and all that crap. The comics, tv shows, and movies of that genre are nothing more than commercials to drive sales of action figures and CCG's (that's Collectible Card Games, which solely exist to get you to buy more of them).

Agreed, and agreed more!
This may sound harsh, but... my mom was an english teacher and after a brief IM conversation she's rubberstamped what I'm about to say with her approval.

Go to the kids section of your local library and look around. Talk to a childrens librarian and tell her exactly what your kid likes and ask for suggestions to get him reading bigger books... beside comic books. A good childrens librarian will have a million suggestions. There's stuff that would appeal to him all over the kids and the YA section that's GOOD WRITING (complete with explosions ... considering that things burning or blowing up were the only things that held my attention at that age) and leads into reading more adult books. Challenging kids with things that are just a tad out of their reach is what gets them to grow; giving them a spoonfull of sugar to read tells them that even YOU think that it's awful medicine, and that's just a crappy thing to do to a kid where reading's concerned.
I won't say that graphic novels are trash, mostly because I love and enjoy them as a genere of their own. But they're like brain candy. Heck, even the sci-fi that I love is brain candy, but it gets you to read more and more.
My tastes were similar when I was a kid and I was reading Tom Clancy novels in 5th grade with this approach. Early pressure to read also garnered me an almost-perfect (680/700) on the written SAT.
posted by SpecialK at 2:53 PM on September 16, 2004


Halo and Sprocket is a thoughtful comic. It's quite simple.
posted by holloway at 3:28 PM on September 16, 2004


On the Star Wars front, there's always the Star Wars manga.
posted by neckro23 at 4:36 PM on September 16, 2004


I'll put a plug in for the Horrible Histories collection. May be difficult to buy from the US though.
posted by arha at 5:21 PM on September 16, 2004


Akiko on the Planet Smoo is an excellent science-fiction story featuring a young girl and her colorful companions. It's available in both straight comic books and illustrated novels. Highly recommended to help transition between reading comics and books.

Sandwalk Adventures and Clan Apis are whimsical science adventures (a la Calvin & Hobbes experiments) that have a good grounding in actual science. They're fun, well-drawn and not too didactic. Check 'em out!

Jason and the Argobots has the requisite giant robot controlled by the titular child, but it's also a thoughtful, fun adventure story.

Usagi Yojimbo is a long-running (20+ years) story of a samurai rabbit and his adventures in feudal Japan. Well-researched and illustrated in a style that captures some of the best manga storytelling techniques. Do check it out before passing it along--anthropomorphic animals die in swordfights and other ways, but I don't find it gory or upsetting.
posted by JDC8 at 6:56 PM on September 16, 2004


They still put of "Classics Illustrated"? If not, maybe ebay or a comic book store -- though maybe they're collector's items by now.

Not too roboty, but I loved'em as a kidling.
posted by RavinDave at 8:59 PM on September 16, 2004


7 year olds run a wide reading range, some higher some lower. second grade right? they usually want to get away from the large picture books and onto 'big kids' stuff, but often format is key. for some reason smaller books symbolize 'big kid stuff.'

if you've exhausted the seven underpants books (plus the two 'extra crunchy fun'), steer your way to other dav pilkey stuff! ricky ricotta will really be on his reading level and with titles like 'mighty robot vs. the jurassic jackrabbits from jupiter,' he'll probably be brought in. the 'magic tree house' series is really popular (and it's scary how they pull in that educational stuff painlessly), as is 'the secret of droon,' which has less pictures, but is pure pre-h*rry-p*tter fun. junie b. jones is also a big success with both girls and boys. i always liked shel silverstein (where the sidewalk ends, the giving tree). the roald dahl books (of 'charlie and the chocolate factory' fame) are also really good and quite a few in his reading range - check out 'the twits,' and 'esio trot' and any of his 'revolting recepies/rhymes/etc.'

if he's not quite away from picture books, 'walter, the farting dog' is really great (it's a fact indisputable that farting makes kids laugh. i dare anyone to falsify this!) i also really like 'diary of a worm,' and 'the three questions' by muth. good luck!
posted by eatdonuts at 9:38 PM on September 16, 2004


I've just sent this link to our librarian. We have a very, very small rural librarian, but they can request anything. Thanks for all of your help! This thread turned out waaaay better than I ever thought it would.
posted by mecran01 at 12:27 PM on September 17, 2004


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