cover image Wordplay


Ivan Brunetti. Toon (Consortium, dist.), $12.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-943145-17-1

In a lighthearted exploration of compound words, New Yorker cartoonist Brunetti introduces a classroom of schoolchildren, rendered with the round heads and flattened perspectives that characterize his artwork. After receiving a homework assignment to create a list of compound words, a girl with a hair bun and eyeglasses delights in imagining the possibilities behind these verbal mashups. There’s a six-handed handyman with another hand for his head, a ballroom filled with dancing sports equipment, and even an alternative definition for grasshopper: “You mean like a rabbit?” she asks her father. Colored type underscores the concept (for “bedtime,” “bed” is red, and “time” is blue), and the girl’s quiet pride in discovering compound words is as enjoyable as her loopy interpretations. Brunetti buoyantly conveys the joy of diving into newly acquired knowledge and the idea that learning and play aren’t mutually exclusive. Ages 4–8. (May)