Jenny's 2010 Picks
Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework
by Nadja Spiegelman, illus. by Trade Loeffler
Science has rarely looked as inviting as it does in this beginning reader book, presented in comic-strip panels. Even if your youngster scoffs at the usual science book, he or she will find it hard to resist the duo at the center of this tale, and the inviting presentation. Nadja Spiegelman uses an effective hybrid of fact and fiction to emphasize subtle wonders of the natural world in a graphic novel format. Two aliens land on Earth while attempting to retrieve a “pet” for Zig’s class zoo. Zig is the furry, brown, one-eyed fellow on the cover, and Wikki is the pea-green character who resembles a walking television set. When something lands on Zig’s candy, Wikki’s screen lights up with helpful information: “FLY tasting: flies taste with the hair on their feet, so they can tell when they land if food is good.” The otherworldly pals learn about Earth’s food chain, too, as a dragonfly devours the fly, a frog gulps the dragonfly, and a raccoon pursues the frog. Trade Loeffler varies the pacing with multiple-panel sequences and full-page images. When Wikki’s screen lights up with information about Earth’s creatures, the artist cleverly employs a photographic image and brief caption to play up the scientific facts (the snapshot of “frog eating its skin” is particularly realistic). The book ends with a delightful surprise, then a page of “Wikki’s fun facts,” with additional amusing tidbits and photographs (check out the larvae!). Your youngsters will be having so much fun, they’ll barely notice how much they’re learning.