Dragon Puncher, written and illustrated by James Kochalka, 40 pp, RL 1
Dragon Puncher by James Kochalka was the first book my son marked for purchase after reading A Parent's Guide to the Best Kids' Comics by Snow Wildsmith and Scott Robins.Without even reading the synopsis, I knew this was a book I needed to have. First of all, the title alone makes me laugh out loud. Secondly, Dragon Puncher is a cat. Finally, Dragon Puncher has Spoony-E. As if the Dragon Puncher himself were not weird and hilarious enough, Kolchalka throws in this curious Sasquatch with a cute baby face who turns out to be a superhero's best sidekick. Finally, this year Kolchalka's Dragon Puncher Island won the Eisner Award for Best Publication for Early Readers, which is something akin to the Caldecott and Oscar rolled into one.
Do I really even need to describe the plot of this fantastic book to you? I mean, I think I'd delightedly read about Dragon Puncher and Spoony-E doing their laundry or grocery shopping. Actually, I just paused to get a visual on that and it IS really entertaining. I need to send a note to Kolchalka...
One of the things I like most about Dragon Puncher is that fact that the stars of Kolchalka's books are very close to home. In fact, they live in his home. Sandy the cat stars as Dragon Puncher and apparently she has quite a temper and likes to hiss at children. Eli, Kolchalka's son, stars as Spoony-E. Eli was three when the book was created and, when he was a baby he loved spoons. So did my oldest son, come to think of it. Great teething toys. And, finally, James cast himself as the drooling dragon. No dragons were harmed during the making of these books, by the way.
Need I say more? Run out and buy these books for your emerging readers. Or, even better, they make superb coffee table books and generate conversation right away! There is never a dull moment when Dragon Puncher and Spoony-E are around!!