Ask the grumpies: Graphic Novels for little kids

bookishbiker asks:

Any recommendations for non-scary/tense graphic novels for a five-year-old? I looked at Zita the Spacegirl and I thought it was okay, maybe a bit much/too soon, but I don’t want to wait another year or two. I’m excited to introduce the format of graphic novels/comics to a kiddo who’s starting to write their own stories.

Not scary:
Phoebe and unicorn (Newspaper comic strip, but there are story lines and there’s continuity even though nobody actually ages)
Owly (very sweet)
Owl Diaries (also sweet)

Bad Kitty (not technically a graphic novel, but has sentences and comic strip style interludes)

Full of juvenile humor but not scary:  Anything by Jeffrey Brown, Tom Watson, or Dav Pilkey (note:  The Dragon books are very Amelia Bedelia-esque and if that bugs you, you’re better off with Dog Man or Captain Underpants)

Some adventure:
Hilda (the graphic novels are rated 1st-2nd grade… I find the Netflix show a bit scary, but DC2 doesn’t at all)
Tiny snow fairy sugar (this was DC2’s first big graphic novel/manga want after watching the dub on netflix — we had to buy them used)
Squirrel girl (she eats nuts and kicks butts!  Fun for the whole family!)
Secret hero society
Pokémon (we literally own all of the ones that have made it into English– it’s almost two shelves)
My little pony graphic novels (the ones focusing on the Cutie Mark Crusaders (aka the main casts’ little sisters) have more mundane adventures– trying to make the wrong people fall in love vs. trying to not get burnt to a crisp by a dragon… more cringe, less actual danger)

Leah suggests:

Not graphic novels but great:
Princess in Black
Zoey & Sassafras

Owl Diaries (graphic novel) is also a hit here.

Lisa suggests:

My oldest really loved El Deafo and Guts.

My normally chill DC2 was terrified by a couple of the Wonder Women step readers, so maybe not those?

Grumpy Nation, what graphic novels would you recommend for a five-year-old?

12 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: Graphic Novels for little kids”

  1. Jen Says:

    My youngest loves the babysitters club and, for a short time, the babysitters little sister graphic novels. She is starting to outgrow the babysitters little sister now (age 7) but would have loved them at age 5 (they were published when she was 6).

  2. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    My 5 year old enjoyed Harriet the Hamster and Dragonbreath (Ursula Vernon) as well. They’re only kind of graphic novels?

  3. Alice Says:

    Not a graphic novel, but more a nearly-wordless story that uses some graphic novel layout: my 5-year-old thinks that David Wiesner’s Tuesday is hysterical. We pulled it out for the first time two days ago because she had a reading assignment to read 1 or more award-winning books, and it was one of the ones in the house–it got a Caldecott Medal. I’d bought it years before I had her because I liked the art. She laughed so hard the first time she saw the frogs-and-laundry pages, it was pretty fun to see.

    (We have a lot of kids’ books, but apparently not many that won awards, which is why I had to pull out something nearly wordless to meet the assignment. I’m glad we had the handful of Caldecotts that we do, but argh. This month’s assignments really assume a level of library use that isn’t in line with my own comfort level with bringing her into public yet. We’re in Colorado. Things are more than a little on fire here at the moment.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That sounds fun! I think I will put it on our library list.

      I’ve been reading Courtney Milan’s twitter updates on Colorado. Her husband is a doctor, I think maybe in ER, and the hospitals are so slammed. It’s so bizarre because right now we’re in a lull here (though creeping back up apparently as a result of Halloween parties, they think). Though lull here is pants on fire for my friends on the coasts.

      Our library has been really nice for limiting contact– I’ve been requesting books online and going in to pick them up on my way home from teaching. I can actually still call to have them bring them outside which is what I would do if I had DC2 with me.

  4. Matthew D Healy Says:

    I wish El Deafo had existed in the 1960s when I was a kid with hearing aids — and 1960s hearing aids were much bigger and less effective than the hearing aids I use today.

  5. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    Ditto most of the list above plus JB loved Tiny Titans, Superman Family adventures and Itty Bitty Hellboy by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani. They started Nnewts this year, PiC wondered if it was too much but they love it. We also read the Scottie Young Oz Omnibus sometime last year but they were a touch spooked by parts of it so we paused for a bit. They also loved G Willow Wilson’s Ms Marvel though it was a bit above their reading and comprehension and started flipping through my Gail Simone Wonder Woman trades which are WAY too old for them but that’s when I realized they were actually reading and not just memorizing stories we read to them.

  6. Katie Says:

    Catstronauts has a little bit of dramatic tension but my kids (6 and 4) really enjoy them. We have checked them out of the library repeatedly.

  7. Coree Says:

    We like the Narwal and Jelly books, they are really cute!

  8. bookishbiker Says:

    Thank you for all these suggestions!! I think I’m going to get everything I can from the library to see what sticks with the niblings. The older one is BIG into drawing and is starting to illustrate stories, so the timing is ripe for these.


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