Not only is Francoise Mouly launching a new line of comics/books aimed at very young readers, but the Toon Books website kicks all kinds of butt. Look at these awesome art previews — we made our own little montage but click on the link for more previews, bigger art and info.
There’s also a very informative blog which seems to have been going for months with nary a trackback. Clever!!! Anyway, you must bookmark it, because it is full of stuff like this summary of a study entitled “Pallenik, M. J. (1986). A Gunman in Town! Children Interpret a Comic Book. Studies in the Anthropology of Visual Communication, 3(1), 38-51.”
Fifth graders pick up far more information than third graders, with explanations seeming less stereotypic – allowing them to anticipate and integrate events more quickly and accurately. Eighth graders “move back and forth between their knowledge of conventional genre structure and the particular story” (46). Fifth graders are more capable of predicting future events from individual panels — each panel implies something about future events. While eighth graders can predict to the end of the story, fifth graders make more short-term predictions about action sequences.
Eighth graders see the story as conventionally ordered by the dictates of the genre. Two strategies were used by eighth graders. When uninterested, they use a “flat” style that perceives and decodes the story as it unfolds bit by bit. A contiguous reading style incorporates the understanding of the genre to expand on the given information with schematic knowledge (unlike with third graders, this isn’t to make up for missed information though).
Holy frak it’s the mother lode!