Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker

By Geoffrey Hayes (Toon Books/Raw Junior)
ISBN: 978-1-935179-07-8

Win’s Christmas Gift Recommendation: An Ideal Means of keep keeping adults and youngsters entertained… 10/10

If you give them a chance and great material, kids love to read. Happily, these days there’s a grand renaissance of books for the young to cut their milk-teeth on, and thanks to the dedication of folk like David Fickling Books (and their wonderful comic The Phoenix) in Britain and Toon Books/Raw Junior in the USA, plenty of avenues for youngsters to grow up reading comics too.

The latter was established by Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly as an imprint of the groundbreaking alternative comics magazine to provide high-quality comics stories which would entice pre-schoolers and starter-readers into a lifelong love affair with strips in particular and reading in general.

A broad stable of talented creators has produced many superbly superior comic tales in three accredited educational standards (Level 1: First Comic for brand new readers, Level 2: Easy-to-Read for Emerging Readers and Level 3: Chapter Books for Advanced Beginners) and the company even supplements their publications with an on-line tool. also offers follow up such as interactive audio-versions read by the authors – and in a multitude of languages – and a “cartoon maker” facility which allows readers to become writers of their own adventures about the characters they have just met in the printed editions. Many books include a page of tips for parents and teachers on ‘How to Read Comics with Kids’…

Benny and Penny in Just Pretend is part of an on-going multi-award winning series of tales starring two young suburban mice: a typical brother-and-sister act, loving, loyal, occasionally wayward but always ready to learn and willing to learn from their mistakes.

Author Geoffrey Hayes is a past master of the children’s entertainment industry, having written and/or illustrated more than 40 books (including Otto and Uncle Tooth, Bear by Himself, the Patrick Bear series and Margaret Wise Brown’s When the Wind Blew amongst so many others) and happily shows no sign of stopping.

Here, just for a change the ever-argumentative tykes are playing together in the garden, seeking the treasure indicated on the pirate map Benny has made, when they hear the worst possible news. Cousin Bo has arrived for a surprise play-date…

Instantly Benny and Penny rush about hiding their dolls and games and favourite things, because Bo is very rough and is a toy breaker…

They’re only just in time as the well-meaning but over-excitable Bo bustles in, accidentally hitting Benny in the eye.

Unabashed, Bo wants to find the treasure on Benny’s map and, when they refuse to play with him, tears a leg off Penny’s never-to-be-parted cuddle-toy Monkey

Left on his own, Bo wants to teach them a lesson but soon gets into more trouble than he can handle and it takes Benny, Penny and the mole girl next door to save him. With the crisis over, Bo realises that playing with others is far more fun than bossing everyone about…

Aimed at the four-and-over age-range and released as a child-sized (236 x1 62mm), gloriously evocative, beguilingly beautiful 32 page full-colour hardback, Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker is the kind of illustrated extravaganza kids of all ages will treasure forever and return to again and again.
© 2010 RAW Junior, LLC. All rights reserved.