I love Toon Books. They’re a great way to bring our youngest readers into the fold and introduce them to the joy that is sequential art. Their Fall lineup looks amazing, and if you check this space often enough, you’ll hear all about it. Today, I’m starting with Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing’s Flop to the Top.
We meet Wanda: she’s a little girl with BIG dreams. She’s a superstar – just ask her, she’ll tell you! She’s surrounded by adoring fans (otherwise known as her brother. James, and sister, Jade) who she shoves off the red carpet and has no time for – she’s a star, baby! Her biggest fan is her floppy dog, Wilbur. Wilbur is a sweet mush of a dog that patiently tolerates Wanda’s self-centered behavior, acting as her pillow and her pashmina. Much like Jade and James, Wilbur is relegated to second-class citizen status while Wanda watches her favorite show, The Star Show.
Wanda snaps a picture of herself and Wilbur and uploads it before bedtime. When she wakes up, the picture has gone viral and there are adoring crowds outside of her home – but to Wanda’s chagrin, the fans are there for Wilbur, not Wanda! How will Wanda handle Wilbur’s newfound success?
Flop to the Top takes a tongue-in-cheek look at fame and social media in this day and age, at the same time teaching a valuable lesson in friendship and humility to kids. Wanda’s a pretty rude kid, but learns that the world doesn’t revolve around her, and even more important, the consequences of selfish behavior. Kids will love Wilbur, will catch onto the social media jokes, and just maybe, learn to treat others with the respect we all deserve.
I’ve been a fan of Eleanor Davis’ work since my son went nuts for the Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook a few years ago. I’ve got her TOON Books on my library shelves, and press them into the hands of every parent I can get over to my graphic novels section. Her book, Stinky, received several awards, including designation as a 2009 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book, a 2009 Booklist Notable Children’s Book, and a Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Book of the Year.
TOON rates this book a Level 3, for more advanced beginners (grades 2-3), but don’t let that stop you if you have younger readers in the house. I curled up with my 3 year old and read it, and he cracked up at the artwork and the story, and fell in love with Wilbur. Go with it – read to your kids! That’s half the fun right there!
Davis’ husband, Drew Weing, shares art duties on this book, and it’s perfect for young readers. The bright art has a retro feel, and the multicultural characters have wildly expressive faces that kids will glom onto. Wilbur is adorable, and a big old mush dog that any kid (or grownup) can imagine watching TV with and using as the world’s best pillow.
Flop to the Top is out on September 15, but I can give you a peek at the artwork here, courtesy of TOON’s website.
FLOP TO THE TOP
Writing and Art: Eleanor Davis & Drew Weing
Publisher: TOON Books
On-Sale: September 15, 2015