Reviews for Chick and Chickie Play All Day
"No American publisher has attempted what TOON Books is doing, providing interesting graphic novels with educator-approved text for readers as young as four years old...Chick & Chickie [is] its first volume featuring the art of Claude Ponti, one of the most respected French authors of children’s literature. Ponti has a background in fine art, and his books contain stunning visuals, often with surrealistic dreamlike elements. The editors at TOON Books took illustrations from Ponti’s Tromboline and Foulbazar series (about two little chicks) and created a new book in the classic TOON Books style with a vetted vocabulary. The art is all Ponti, but the book itself is re-imagined for a young American audience."
"Chick and Chickie are friends and they like to do things together. First they make and decorate masks. They are very creative, and while the masks are colorful, some younger kids might be frightened of them; however, this is only a small part of the story, so I would encourage kids to keep reading. Next they play with the letter 'A'. They tickle him and throw him, and they are rewarded with sounds of happiness from the letter 'A' in the form of Ahhhhhhh’s. They plan to play with the letter 'B' tomorrow. There is another part where one of the chicks makes a scary face which is reminiscent of older comics, but overall these elements should not detract from the overall cuteness and humor of the story."
--No flying, no tights
"We’ve reviewed a fair number of these gorgeous Toon Books graphic novels for younger readers here at the FPI Blog. They’re magnificent little things, well thought out, beautiful artwork, perfect stories for the youngest of readers, and a great introduction to comics.
This is one of Toon Books’ Level 1 Readers, in a beautiful little landscape format hardback (to give you an idea of the style and level, it’s the same as Jeff Smith’s Little Mouse, and Art Spiegelman’s Jack and The Box).
It’s a graphic novel by Claude Ponti, a French children’s illustrator, whose work (thanks to Toon Books and Google translate) is full of dream imagery, trying to capture the inner-child. And yes, I can see that, I really can. Because although it’s designed for very young, brand-new readers, it’s a strange, quirky little thing. Well, it is eventually, when we get to the second part of the graphic novel.
What you see first of all is a delightful little tale, beautifully simple; two little chicks playing together, making masks together, scaring each other:
And that lovely, very gentle scare that’s done by each chick in turn will delight the children who’ll read this, and let the grown ups (me) who read this out loud to the tiny children they know (our foundation class of 3-4 year olds) really have fun doing the scary moments.
But just as you thought Ponti was all about simple, funny little tales, he does something rather magnificent on the final page of this part of the story. He does this:
Now that’s just brilliant. Switching the focus, adding a beautifully surreal bit of fantasy into the whole thing. Some children might get it immediately, some might need it pointing out. But once they do, they’ll howl about it.
After this, it gets a bit strange, a little bit weird. Weird in a fun, interesting way yes, but potentially weird in a strange, bizarre, mildly nightmare inducing way as well. Because after Chick and Chickie finish making their masks, they decide to play school, which involves them grabbing a weirdly alive letter 'A' and manhandling it onto the page:
First they get the 'A', then they tickle it until it laughs uncontrollably, then they throw it across the double page, then they’re nice to it, then they get scary to make it afraid, until finally letting it go, dashing off panel as if released from captivity. Ponti’s using each new emotion from the kidnap victim to brings forth a new expession; 'Ah', 'Ha Ha Ha!', 'AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA' when flying, 'Ahhh!' when they’re being nice, 'AH!' when they’re being scary, and finally 'AAAH!' when they release it. So each page gives the reader chance to do a different A sound.
But even though I can see what he’s doing, it’s such a strange thing to see, done in such a strange, rather disturbing manner. It’s rather brilliant yes, but very strangely brilliant, a bit like Sesame Street with a kidnap in the middle. Kids are going to love it though. Like all Toon Books, the quality of the production is incredibly high, matching the quality of the story and art every time. Chick & Chickie is yet another great little first comic experience, and one that will delight in the library for many years."
--Forbidden Planet International
"Claude Ponti’s Chick and Chickie Play All Day! is a comic aimed for beginning readers, so like most children’s books for that earliest age, it’s a simple story. What impressed me almost off the bat, though, was how well Ponti uses the ideas behind sequential art storytelling in a way that will subtly teach those littlest of readers how to read comics. Presented in a landscape format, Ponti sometimes uses the two-page spread as a single panel, other times as two panels. In doing so, he’s showing his readers the progression of time, either through a panel border or through a long stretch of space. As they walk across the spreads, you get the sensation of scenes taking longer than a single moment; it’s impressive when you realize that he’s using these storytelling techniques for young readers who will almost certainly grab what he’s doing and take it with them.
The story itself in Chick and Chickie Play All Day! is cute, too; it’s about a pair of chicks who first make masks and scare one another, and then play with a massive, ambulatory letter A. The second half feels like a good way to introduce those little readers into the idea of there being more than one "A" sound, and to also play with the idea of inflection creating meaning. Add in some charming illustrations, and this is a winner for those new readers in your household. Plus, if that’s not enough, you can also start prepping them into the world of comics. Everyone wins."
--Read About Comics
"Ponti is a prolific picture-book author in his native France, and TOON Books has modified two of his French works as a single addition to their winning stable. Ponti’s aesthetic is quite on display, as each page constitutes a single panel and, while its shape and the iconography and symbols within are drawn from comics, even young readers who have never set eyes on sequential art before will be quite comfortable here. The narrative, in which Chick and Chickie first make scary masks and then play with a living letter A, is as simple as can be, and the youngest readers will find no stumbling blocks (though there is one image of the chicks pretending to scare the A that more sensitive kids might find alarming). The art, however, reveals an accomplished complexity beneath the charming simplicity, as Ponti effectively distinguishes his characters with the smallest details and strategically uses drops of sweat and motion lines to create a sense of lively fun."
"Chick & Chickie Play All Day! is a first comic for the young early reader. The book is written by Claude Ponti, who is an established author of children’s books published in French. This one is enjoyed in English and colorfully walks the early reader through a cute interchange of two chickens who explore the letter 'A' as if it were a person with various feelings and expressions. The story is lively and a really fun way to introduce letters to children. Hopefully, the author will follow up with all of the letters of the alphabet. Don’t be surprised if your child wants to read it again and again."
--St. Louis Homeschooling Examiner
"As do most good friends, Chick and Chickie have fun playing together. First, they decide to make masks, and they take turns scaring one another. Next they decide to play school and have a good time with the letter A. They try different things with the first letter of the alphabet to see what sounds it will make. Beginning readers will enjoy a graphic novel such as this one that they can read independently."
--Reading Today Online
"TOON Books has done it again, maybe even giving Elephant and Piggie a bit of (much needed) competition. I mean, there is room for two more slightly subversive buddies in the world of emerging reader books, right? Chick & Chickie: Play All Day introduces us to the French author and illustrator of over sixty children's books Claude Ponti. As much as I love Mo Willems and what he has done for the world of picture books and beginning readers, especially, Elephant and Piggie, I think it is possible to create a book at an even simpler reading level that is still smart and entertaining to kids and adults, and that is exactly what Ponti has done with Chick & Chickie: Play All Day.
The story begins on the cover where Chick and Chickie are deciding what to play. Chick says, 'Let's make masks,' and Chickie agrees. After making the masks, they proceed to scare each other and have a laugh about it. Observant eyes will notice Chick and Chickie's masks trembling and sweating as they face each other while Chick and Chickie swap compliment on their mask making skills.
Next the two decide to play school and haul out an enormous, squishy looking, inflatable letter A. The two torment the letter, just a bit, tickling it, throwing it, scaring it with a giant pin, all the while the A exclaimimg, 'AAAAH!' and 'HAHAHAHA' and 'AAAAAAAaaaaaaaa.' However, Chick and Chickie are nice to the A as well. As they end their play time (and the A runs away) the two decide they had fun and will look for B to play with tomorrow...
The language in Chick & Chickie: Play All Day is genuinely simple, somewhere between the über-basic BOB Books and the kind of frustrating Biscuit beginning reader books. If you want to give an emerging reader a treat - a book they might actually be able to read and enjoy - definitely put Chick & Chickie: Play All Day at the top of your list."
"Summary: Chick and Chickie are two chicks who are best friends looking to have fun. Starting out by making scary masks, the manage to scare each other half to death with their masks, and then they decide to play with their friend the letter ‘A’.
Analysis: Chick and Chickie is a great addition to any emergent literacy program. Ponti’s artwork is clean and crisp, allowing young readers to understand what is happening easily. While their masks terrify each other, the images are anything but scary, and the bit with the letter ‘A’ allows children to emulate what Chick and Chickie are doing through the use of action verbs.
Final Thoughts: Chick and Chickie is a fun romp for emergent readers. My three year old loves to sit and just look at the pictures, making up his own stories to got along with it, and my 5 year old will sit and read it out loud. I would highly recommend Ponti’s work for any pre-k or kindergarten class. As with all Toon books, there is a guide in the back to give parents tips on reading the book for maximum impact with their kids."
--The Graphic Novel Reader
"Chick and Chickie play in this first comic for early readers. The words and concepts are simple. The illustrations cute and minimalist. And there’s some humor over the letter 'A' that new readers will surely appreciate. This little book would surely be a winner with most readers just starting out."
--The Blue Stocking Society
"With simple dialog and clear design features, this Level 1 TOON book will engage new readers with its humor and surprises...New readers will enjoy reading this again and again, noticing details layered within the illustrations. The short sentences, easy sight words, large font size and use of dialog bubbles makes it successful for brand new readers. A winner in this outstanding imprint of graphics for new readers."
--Bay Views and More
"Chick and Chickie love to play. One day, they have fun making masks to scare each other. Then they decide to play school, using a flexible red letter 'A' as their teaching tool. In 'Chick & Chickie Play All Day!' (TOON Books, $12.95, ages 4-6), author/illustrator Claude Ponti has come up with an ingenious and hilarious way for kids to learn the sound of the letter 'A'. Young ones will particularly love Mr. Ponti's ability to personify the 'A' by showing it with a range of emotions."
“'What do you want to play?' Chick asks his friend Chickie, as they start this giggle-inducing comic book for beginning readers. With simple dialog and clear design features, this Level 1 Toon book will engage new readers with its humor and surprises. Chick and Chickie startle each other with silly, frightening masks. Then they play school with a giant letter A, tickling it, throwing it, and bringing it cake. New readers will enjoy reading this again and again, noticing details layered within the illustrations. The short sentences, easy sight words, large font size and use of dialog bubbles makes it successful for brand new readers. A winner in this outstanding imprint of graphics for new readers."
--BayViews (Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California)
"This is another new Toon Book, designed for just beginning readers. It’s about two baby chickens that frighten each other with masks and then torture the letter A, a bit of surreal literalism I appreciated. It’s cute and engaging; kids will probably like it. Moving on."
--Robot 6 (Comic Book Resources)
"New readers will enjoy reading this again and again, noticing details layered within the illustrations and the humor. The illustrations of Chick and Chickie’s emotions are particularly noteworthy, reminding me in a way of Mo Willem's Elephant and Piggie series. These cues are so important for new readers, helping them read the dialog with expression and meaning. The short sentences, easy sight words, large font size and use of dialog bubbles makes this book perfect for brand-new readers in kindergarten or 1st grade."
--Great Kid Books
"My favorites of the TOON comics for beginning readers are the Zig and Wikki series and the Benny and Penny series - my patrons seem to concur with me on this, as those are the most frequently checked out TOON titles.
Chick and Chickie looks like it's one that I'm going to be on the fence about. Chick and Chickie, distinguishable only by their slightly different colors, are having fun. First they make masks and scare each other.
Then they drag out a letter A to play school with...a letter A with a face, and flexible structure. They tickle it, throw it, bring it food, threaten it, and leave it alone, all the while discussing how they are making it feel. It finally runs away while they talk about playing with B the next day.
Like the other Level 1 TOON books, it's formatted in a horizontal rectangle, instead of the traditional easy reader vertical rectangle. Each page has a single panel, some of them running the length of the entire spread. The art is simple with the focus being on Chick and Chickie and their activities against an empty background.
The first episode, where they scare each other with masks, is a good story. It has suitable words, fun expressions, and a plot that young children will identify with and enjoy. The second episode, with the A, was strange. It was oddly disconnected and the two chicks manipulating the letter's emotions is just...freaky 'When we are nice...he is happy. When we look scary...he is afraid!' Apparently, the author is well-known for his 'explorations of the nonsense world of dreams' and there is certainly a dream-like quality about this tale.
Verdict: If you have a strong audience for the TOON books, you'll want to add this title, but it's not the most accessible and the oddly nightmarish quality about it may bother some children. The Silly Lilly series and Little Mouse Gets Ready are better choices for comics for beginning readers."
--Jean Little Library
"One of the many reasons Toon Books are neat is their focus on art and artists. I just noticed that the copyright page lists the method of creation of the work; in this case, it’s 'ink and watercolors'. That’s a fascinating insight into how comics come to be.
This is a book for younger readers, with one image per page. The two birds make masks, and then they play with a letter A with a face. It’s a goofy book. I wish the space had been used more effectively — there are sequences where one page out of the spread of two is almost blank."
--Comics Worth Reading
"First Chick and Chickie make masks and scare each other! Then Chick and Chickie play school with the letter A! This picture is an example of Chick and Chickie being nice to the letter A. (They’re giving it a cake!) But they also tickled the letter A and threw the letter A so it flew away!! After Chick and Chickie are nice to the letter A, they decide to scare it! Poor A you think, but it’s the letter B’s turn tomorrow… Chick and Chickie Play All Day! is the perfect new book for new readers. The illustrations are beautiful and hilarious! Also, the author, Claude Ponti is from France and is a beloved author of children’s books. I definitely recommend this Toon Book for a good laugh and a great read with a friend who is still learning and practicing how to read! Enjoy!"
"A level 1 comic chapter book. The simple story is supported by excellent art, with a playful style. Chick & Chickie first make masks together with unexpected outcomes. Then they play school interacting with the letter A by tickling it, throwing it, being nice and scary to it. A deceptively simple concept book with multiple learning opportunities."