A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
Stands out for positive messages.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cat Kid Comic Club, the start of a Dog Man spin-off graphic novel series by Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants), has just as much potty humor and name calling as his other work, but includes some important messages about being authentic, trying your best, and owning up to your mistakes. Subtlety isn't part of Pilkey's approach; messages are in clear language that's sometimes crass and sometimes complicated but always direct, and there's more kindness and cooperation on these pages than in other series. The illustrations are vibrant and brash, with step-by-step instructions for drawing a few of the characters. The end of the book has information on how to create different kinds of art.
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What's the story?
In THE CAT KID COMIC CLUB, a spin-off of Dav Pilkey's Dog Man series, Li'l Petey is starting a club for drawing comics. Joined by friends Flippy and Molly, the trio tries to teach 21 baby frogs to create comics using their own strengths and talents. Within the story are the frogs' comics, stories told using markers, pastels, photographs, sculptures, and more. Despite creative setbacks and frustration, the frogs learn about collaboration, individual work, persistence, and the importance of being themselves. The end of the book has facts about haiku and creative materials, and throughout the story there are step-by-step instructions for drawing characters.
Is it any good?
Author Dav Pilkey knows that kids can giggle about poop jokes while asking big, philosophical questions; he's created a funny, deep, wonderfully irreverent graphic novel to match that spirit. Cat Kid Comic Club is a quick read with enough advanced vocabulary words sprinkled in to offer a challenge, and the illustrations are fast, colorful, and fun. There's also real depth here, but never so much that the story takes too serious a turn. On one page, characters are coming to terms with the hypocrisy of judging kids' artistic content differently than adults' work while only a few pages earlier there was a barrage of fart jokes. The message of persistence is strong here, and applies to more than developing artistic talent.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Cat Kid Comic Club shows how you can use drawings to help tell stories. How do you think the storytlling in this new series sart compares with Dog Man and Captain Underpants? What other graphic novels have you read?
Have you ever been scared to put your heart into something because you're new to it and think you might fail? What happened?
Think you might like to try making your own graphic novel? Would you have animals of people as the manin characters?
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