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Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons: Toon Books Level 1

Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons: Toon Books Level 1

by Agnes Rosenstiehl (Illustrator)

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“[A] little marvel of distilled storytelling…To know Lilly is to want to know what she has to say.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Lilly is a spunky little girl who delights in the unexpected pleasures of each season, peering inside shells in the summer and tasting different kinds of apples in the fall. In this


“[A] little marvel of distilled storytelling…To know Lilly is to want to know what she has to say.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Lilly is a spunky little girl who delights in the unexpected pleasures of each season, peering inside shells in the summer and tasting different kinds of apples in the fall. In this charming and subtle book by one of France’s premier children’s book authors, Lilly learns more about the outdoors, and introduces the youngest readers to the colors, words, and shapes that arise in nature. Silly Lilly’s intimate monologues deftly capture a child’s sense of wonder, in five whimsical episodes that cycle through the calendar from Spring back to Spring again.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Reviewed byLeonard S. Marcus

What is there about Comics that makes children like them so well?" An exasperated schoolteacher posed this question in an article from the 1940s chronicling the uphill battle she and her colleagues were then waging against comic books, which they considered sub-literary fare. The battle lines have long since been redrawn, the graphic novel having attained critical mass and the comics aesthetic having slowly inched its way toward children's literature respectability on the backs of occasional forays into the genre by Maurice Sendak and others, and of more sustained efforts such as the Little Lit series edited by Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly. Now New Yorkerart director Mouly, with Spiegelman as in-house adviser, takes the field again with the release of the first three titles from Toon Books, an innovative line of early readers presented in comics format.

On the evidence of Rosenstiehl's initial contribution, Dick and Jane may now pack up their things and leave town for good. In this little marvel of distilled storytelling, five wee seasonal vignettes, starting and ending with spring, place a spry young girl in familiar situations that give free rein to her curiosity and love of action. As Lilly plays in the park, finds a snail at the shore, samples a basket of apples, hurls snowballs and swings on a swing, her bright thoughts and warblings appear overhead in speech balloons, in words of one to three syllables. Twice, a teddy bear serves as the straight man; in the winter scene, for example, he impassively takes a snowball on the chin ("Oops! Sorry, Teddy! I was only kidding!"). This comic moment, like others thatRosenstiehl extracts from her rigorously pared-down materials, draws us directly into Lilly's emotional world, where attention is routinely paid to everything, from a lowly dandelion on up. To know Lilly is to want to know what she has to say.

Lilly, who is already familiar to children of the author's native France as Mimi Cracra, is Little Lulu with dance lessons. Apple-cheeked and graceful, she's nobody's fool, and her expressive action poses double as telltale clues to the child poised to begin decoding the printed word independently. Rosenstiehl's uncomplicated layouts-two panes of equal size per page, four per spread-and minimalist backdrops likewise keep the focus where it belongs: on the adventure of taking the measure of everyday things, whether it be a tiny sea creature washed up by a wave or the words "I'm flying." Ages 4-up. (Apr.)

Leonard S. Marcus is most recently the author ofMinders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature (Houghton Mifflin, May).

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Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
High-energy Silly Lilly goes to several wonderful places to enjoy the gifts that each season brings in this unusual book. I do not know whether to call this a comic book or picture book; however, the format makes for easy reading. Each page includes one or two illustrated panels, as well as a text balloon containing a simple sentence. The story begins with spring. Silly Lilly takes her teddy bear (named Teddy) to the park. The weather is perfect, and the girl dances, jumps and naps. Of course, Teddy just sits and watches. Next comes summer. Silly Lilly is at the beach. As she is wading in the water, she sees rocks, fish, and a tiny shell. As she looks at the shell she yells into it, "Hello…anybody there?" It is no surprise to find there is. Fall approaches. Silly Lilly decides to pick apples. She finds yellow, red and green apples—but at the rate she is eating them, she could get a tummy ache. Finally, winter comes. Silly Lilly makes a snowball and throws it at her friend Teddy. Both have a great day. The book comes full circle, ending with spring. This time, she is swinging high to the sky. Children will enjoy reading this book; the activities Silly Lilly does are those most children have experienced. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1 -Minimal text and simple cartoons follow Silly Lilly through the course of a year. Each seasonal adventure is a complete story in which the child delights in the smallest discoveries. She wonders about a tiny snail, the taste of fall apples, and snow. The quiet humor will not bring on belly laughs, but will be appreciated by young audiences. The simplified comic-book format has one to two panels per page. Each panel has one dialogue balloon; each balloon has a single sentence. The short sentences and large print make this a good choice for beginning readers. The descriptive illustrations assist with the storytelling and make this book adaptable for preliteracy conversations. This small-sized book is best read alone or shared one to one.-Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH

Kirkus Reviews
This graphic-early-reader entry from Toon Books is itself an objet d'art. The slight story, in basic comic-book format, briefly and joyfully bounds through the seasons at the rate of four panels per page. The crisp, bright watercolors depict Lilly, a bouncy, endearing child with black pigtails and vim for life, as she happily engages each season. In the spring chapter, "Silly Lilly at the Park," she shows her teddy bear what she likes to do at the park: dance, jump and nap. In summer, she daintily tiptoes through the shore's shallow water, clad in her red two-piece, finding little treasures and surprising herself with a snail hidden within a shell. Fall is summed up in bite-size tastes of a sampling of colorful apples. Winter, of course, offers bountiful snow and Lilly's wayward snowballs. Emergent readers will be drawn to Lilly's ebullient perspective and captivated by the uncluttered layout; the easy lesson on the seasons is a bonus. (Early reader. 5-7)

Product Details

TOON Books
Publication date:
Toon Series
Product dimensions:
9.25(w) x 6.25(h) x (d)
BR (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Agnès Rosenstiehl is the beloved writer and artist of nearly a hundred children’s books, many featuring the deceptively simple antics of “Mimi Cracra”, Silly Lilly’s French alter ego. In 1995, she received the prestigious Grand Prize for Children’s Books from the Société des Gens de Lettres. Agnès formally studied literature as well as music, and is married to an eminent mathematician. She lives in a country house with a garden, hidden in the center of Paris. She has four children and fifteen grandchildren.

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