by Geoffrey Hayes

Toon Books, $12.95, 32 pages

Meet Patrick, an adorable teddy bear who loves his mamma and adventure. Author and illustrator Geoffrey Hayes brings readers Patrick in A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Other Stories, a collection of tales about one curious, creative, and brave critter. In addition to the main story, you’ll enjoy ‘’Patrick Has a Nap” (how a little bear avoids napping) and “Patrick and Big Bear” (how to stand up to a bully). The book succeeds in its claim of introducing new readers to the pleasure of comics. As a Level Two Toon, the target audience of first and second graders will find 1-4 panels per page, short sentences and repetition, and a story arc with a few key characters in a small world. Parents and teachers, take advantage of a page filled with ideas on how to read comics with kids. For example, assign your child and yourself characters in the story and read their lines with gusto! Or, linger on silent panels to discuss pacing and point out how the shape and size of the panels convey meaning. Be prepared to seek out more Patrick books as your child falls in love with their new furry fan favorite.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin