When I was a kid, graphic novels weren’t really a big thing. I was into Archie comics in a huge way (don’t judge), so I think I would’ve enjoyed an actual graphic novel-type story.
Vivi LOVES them. We’ve read the Narwhal and Jelly series so far, and after an impromptu trip to Chapters the other day, we stumbled upon an adorable new series by Aron Nels Steinke: Mr. Wolf’s Class.
I was immediately drawn to the cartoon-y style of the characters. The cover is adorable, with a visibly nervous Mr. Wolf waving to his new charges (who are in all states of disarray, as in a real classroom). I just knew we had to add this book to our library and it a read.
And I’m so glad we did!
Vivi and I have read the book twice (each) so far. Here are my top three favourite things about it, followed by Vivi’s top three favourite things.
My favourite things:
1. I really love the art. It’s adorable. The characters are sweet and funny and expressive. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, where we sort of ‘meet’ each kid by seeing them the night before the first day of school. I immediately related to both Aziza and Penny.
2. I like the fact that some of the characters are gender-neutral. I had no idea the bunny was a girl until I learned her name (Margot). It’s nice to not see the typical “bow in the hair” or “obvious eyelashes” to indicate “girl.” (Side note: in my former work life, when I was a writer for a children’s website, this was something to consider. How do you show that a hippo is a girl hippo? With her clothes, yes. But do you add makeup? Do you add extra-long eyelashes? My favourite debate from that job, though, was whether or not fish can wear belts. The answer? Only if they’re wearing pants first. Obviously.)
3. The story was sweet and funny. There were no major issues to overcome, no major strife, no huge conflicts. It just seemed like a teacher’s first day of school. The kids were authentic. The situations were humorous, and yeah, maybe Penny falling asleep in a discarded book box was a tad far-fetched, but it all felt real. It felt like school.
Vivi’s favourite things:
1. The art is great! Penny is so cute.
2. It was hilarious that Penny was so tired. I liked it when she introduced herself as ‘Sleepy.’
3. Penny and Aziza were my favourites. Aziza reminds me of me because she’s a hard worker. I liked the ending when Margot and Sampson made friends. I also really like the fact that there’s another book coming out. It said so on the last page. Really! It’s called “Mystery Club.” I’m guessing it’s about a club that solves mysteries.
This book is absolutely spot-on perfect for someone Vivi’s age/reading level. Some of the books she’s able to read independently are either:
- Uninteresting to her (she’s only 5).
- Over her head in terms of content (they require too much explanation from me to make them enjoyable).
She loves this book because she can read it independently and because she fully understands all of it and GETS the jokes.
If you’ve got a good little reader, get them this story ASAP. They will love it and so will you!
Mama’s rating: 10/10
Vivi’s rating: A++