The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics

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The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics is an unprecedented collection of the greatest comics for children, artfully compiled by two of the best-known creators in publishing and the field of comics--Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly.

This treasury created for young readers focuses on comic books, not strips, and contains humorous stories that range from a single-page to eight or even twenty-two pages, each complete and self-contained. The comics have been culled from the...

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The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics is an unprecedented collection of the greatest comics for children, artfully compiled by two of the best-known creators in publishing and the field of comics--Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly.

This treasury created for young readers focuses on comic books, not strips, and contains humorous stories that range from a single-page to eight or even twenty-two pages, each complete and self-contained. The comics have been culled from the Golden Age of comic books, roughly the 1940s through the early 1960s, and feature the best examples of works by such renowned artists and writers as Carl Barks, John Stanley, Sheldon Mayer, Walt Kelly, Basil Wolverton, and George Carlson, among many, many others.

Organizing the book into five categories (Hey, Kids!; Funny Animals; Fantasyland; Story Time!; and Wacky & Weird), Spiegelman and Mouly use their expertise in the area of comics to frame each category with an introductory essay, and provide brief biographies of the artists. The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics is essential reading for kids of all ages.

F&P level: T

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Editorial Reviews

Douglas Wolk
A handful of these stories feature familiar names, including Carl Barks's Uncle Scrooge, C. C. Beck's Captain Marvel…and Walt Kelly's Pogo; many others are long-forgotten wonders, like George Carlson's supremely ridiculous "Pie-Face Prince of Old Pretzleburg" and Sheldon Mayer's high-whimsical "Sugar and Spike." But all were clearly drawn out of genuine love for little kids and their sensibilities, and their playfulness and attention to detail made them the springboard for the comics avant-garde that arrived a few decades later.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Spiegelman and Mouly reinvented comics as pop art in their classic anthology RAW. This time out, they’re reclaiming comics as a medium of far gentler thrills in a bountiful collection of story gems from a more whimsical era of graphic storytelling. Cartoonists little known to nonscholars are standouts: Sheldon Mayer’s Sugar and Spike—toddler pals who speak their own language, much to the consternation of grownups—are a delight with their sweet hijinks. Andre LeBlanc’s oddball “Intellectual Amos” marries lush artwork to a bald boy who mysteriously soliloquizes about science to his silent imp companion. Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein is a gentle freak who longs to play the tuba. But the genius triumvirate of John Stanley, Carl Barks and Walt Kelly dominates—the first two with their wry fables of greed, revenge and childhood hubris. Kelly is simply one of the most endearing cartoonists of all time—every line he draws or character he creates exudes charm. Adults and comics fans will pore over this revelatory treasury for the stunning art; kids will simply pore over it, immersed in worlds of fantasy that are worth visiting again and again. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
This extensive, fat volume offers an overview of the rich comic book era of the 1930s to the 1960s. The selections have been chosen for a "strong narrative thrust, a great sense of humor, and a distinctive authorial voice." Not included are superhero comics or those with "horrific or sexual content." A ten-page history identifies four "giants, who tower over our corner of the comic book landscape," namely Sheldon Mayer (Sugar and Spike), Walt Kelly (Pogo), John Stanley (Little Lulu), and Carl Barks (Donald Duck). Other creators are included, along with reasons for selection or omission. Five chapters group the comics by themes such as "Hey, Kids!," "Funny Animals," "Fantasyland," "Story Time," and "Weird and Wacky." Each chapter includes some fifteen comics, many referred to in the history with commentaries. The relationship between the comics and both picture books and graphic novels is made clear. The reproductions are carefully printed; in their abundance, they help us understand the motivation for this anthology. The editors successfully make the case for the inclusion of this genre in the wider scope of literature. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up–The dynamic duo has triumphed again. No, not the caped crusader and the boy wonder, but Spiegelman and Mouly. These comics giants have worked with an advisory board (composed of other notables such as Jeff Smith of “Bone” fame) to present great comics from the 1930s through the 1960s. The entries range from single-page gags to considerably longer and more convoluted tales in sections like “Hey Kids!” and “Fantasyland.” Readers are treated to well-known characters like Scrooge McDuck along with others, such as Nutsy Squirrel and Burp the Twerp, that are now mostly forgotten. The collection finishes strongly with the comic-book version of Dr. Seuss’s Gerald McBoing Boing. The age of these comics does present a few cautions. These are faithful reproductions with the limited colors and sometimes slightly blurry text common to the comic books of yesteryear that are, perhaps, unfamiliar to the comics readers of today. These stories depict youngsters and critters from another era whose slang and forms of play are considerably different from today’s norms. Other elements that may give some pause include a few instances of smoking and the use of “nerve medicine,” and, in Scrooge’s “Tralla La” story, yellow ducks with slants for eyes. Cautionary notes aside, this glorious collection will be enjoyed by most children and many adults as well. For something wacky yet more portable and contemporary, try Matthew Loux’s “Salt Water Taffy” series (Oni).–Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
The Barnes & Noble Review
The dedicated trawler of used-book stores will occasionally stumble upon a fat bound volume of one of the Edwardian children's magazines, such as Chatterbox or St. Nicholas. Overstuffed with activities, puzzles, poems, prose tales, essays and beautiful drawings, these well-handled storehouses of prelapsarian juvenile fun evoke gilded summer afternoons of youthful bliss. Would it be possible to create such a volume for the jaded 21st century? Editors Fran?oise Mouly and Art Spiegelman certainly believe so, and have substantially achieved their vision with The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics. Although eschewing all types of entertainment save the comics-based, their new anthology manages to deliver much the same basket of delights as these nostalgic compilations of a century gone by. In fact, the cogent, bold, and warmhearted introduction by the famously married editors outlining their goals and methodology even echoes the platform propounded by Mary Mapes Dodge, long-serving helmswoman of St. Nicholas:
To give clean, genuine fun to children of all ages. To give them examples of the finest types of boyhood and girlhood. To inspire them with an appreciation of fine pictorial art. To cultivate the imagination in profitable directions. To foster a love of country, home, nature, truth, beauty, and sincerity. To prepare boys and girls for life as it is. To stimulate their ambitions -- but along normally progressive lines. To keep pace with a fast-moving world in all its activities. To give reading matter which every parent may pass to his children unhesitatingly.
If one adds, ?To develop the child's appreciation of fantastical and irreverent absurdity,? the bill of fare is complete. Spiegelman and Mouly dig deep, with superb taste and expertise, into the vast archive of kids' funnybooks issued from the 1930s till the dawn of the Silver Age, circa 1960. They select pluperfect instances of such famous strips as Little Lulu, Sugar and Spike, Captain Marvel, Uncle Scrooge, Pogo, Little Archie, and Dennis the Menace, reproduced here in crisp colors and sharp lines that nonetheless conjure up all the lowbrow, under-the-radar, ten-cents-an-issue production values of that vanished era. Even young readers unfamiliar with these icons will instantly appreciate their charms.

But those savvy adults stealing this book from the sleep-slackened grip of their offspring -- those grown-ups who harbor inside them ?the kid of all ages,? to employ the Mouly-Spiegelman phrase -- will really vibrate to the rarities on display. Lesser-known creators such as Don Arr, George Carlson, Dan Gordon, André LeBlanc, and Dan Noonan prove themselves inspired craftsmen, possessed of quirky, appealing styles and imaginations that fall just short of such geniuses as Walt Kelly and Carl Barks. Consider the wonders of a strip like Noonan's Rover, which is some kind of Prince Valiant of dog stories. Or LeBlanc's Intellectual Amos, which manages to blend factoids and fun. Spiegelman and Mouly mention that they found many more comics worthy of reprinting than this volume could accommodate. We will be camped out by the drugstore spinner rack -- or by the virtual storefront, anyhow -- eagerly awaiting a follow-up volume or four. --Paul DiFilippo

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810957305
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 530,473
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Art Spiegelman

Art Spiegelman is an American comics writer, artist, and editor. He is the creator of Wacky Packages and Garbage Pail Kids for Topps, and is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel memoir, Maus. Francoise Mouly is an artist and designer. Together with Art Spiegelman she edited the groundbreaking comics anthology Raw from 1980 to 1991. She is the art editor for the New Yorker, and publisher of TOON Books. Jon Scieszka is the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. He is the author of The Stinky Cheese Man, which won a Caldecott Honor medal, and the founder of Guys Read (, a nonprofit literacy organization.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 8, 2010

    Great Treasury...Please Publish 25 more!

    Everything about this thick book is perfect except I read the whole thing in about 25 minutes. It would be great if the publisher could do 2 of these a year until dozens were available. Something like over-sized Little Golden Books. Besides the well-crafted book itself, the ink looks original instead of cheaply re-colored in Photoshop like most color versions of old comics. These comics are still great for kids today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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