Patrick in A Teddy Bear's Picnic, written and illustrated by Geoffrey Hayes, 32 pp, RL 1

Geoffrey Hayes is the author of the wonderful Benny & Penny series of books that are part of the superb new publisher of easy-to-read comics, TOON BOOKS. For my thoughts on the first batch of books from TOON and why I love them so much, read my review from 2009. The history behind this company is really fascinating, especially founder Fraçoise Mouly's impetus for creating beginning readers that are more than the bland, boring books that usually serve as primers for emerging readers. As I have said here before, in my house TOON BOOKS are high quality picture books that will serve as primers when my son is ready to read them.

If you read my review of Hayes' Benny & Penny series, then you know how completely enchanted I am by his illustrations. Hayes' bright, colorful palette, his soft shading and his adorable characters are very visually appealing. He also has a way with expressing action and movement in his characters that is heightened but the graphic novel format of his books. Hayes is also a master of character development and has a wonderful understanding of the nature of small children. 

Just like Benny and Penny, Patrick is a curious creature who loves to play but also likes to have things his way. Patrick is impulsive and imaginative and I especially like his angry face (see Patrick Has Another Nap below).

But Patrick isn't all about play and having his way. He also has a nemesis, Big Bear, who bullies him from time to time. Patrick struggles with his fear and his sense of determination and, after a few run-ins and inspiration from his dragon mask, Patrick stands up to Big Bear and makes it home with almost all of his cookies.

Pre-readers and readers alike will love the escapades of Patrick, guaranteed.

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