Thursday, March 25, 2010

Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker

Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker

By Geoffrey Hayes,  Toon Books

In their latest installment, Benny and Penny are faced with the problem of Cousin Bo. Bo, pushy and rude, is also a toy breaker – he winds up ripping, tearing or stealing everything the two mice play with. Today, Benny and Penny are looking for pirate loot; but can they find it while keeping Bo at bay?

Charming, whimsical art will draw readers to this book. Featuring a soft, picture-bookish sensibility, the gentle pastel colors and soft shading work well for this mild tale of playground drama. As for the story itself, it is pleasant, if not innovative. The neighborhood bully receiving comeuppance and repenting is a classic trope in kid lit, and Hayes doesn’t bring anything new to the formula. That being said, the lessons being taught are presented in a subtle, but clear, way. Kids will get the message without feeling lectured or talked down to.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the previous Benny and Penny books, the Big No-No and Just Pretend. I’m not sure if that is because the mash-up of picture book illustrations and comics format is less novel, or if I just wasn’t as enchanted by the story. However, parents seeking to introduce young ones to comics will rejoice at Benny and Penny’s return.

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