I sat down with my nine-year old daughter Leah to read the FCBD edition of Owly and Friends. She enjoyed the comic and we had a lot of fun reading it together, but I think she liked it less than I expected her to.
Leah said she enjoyed “Johnny Boo Meets Johnny Who” the most of the five stories in this comic. This story was written as a collaboration between James Kochalka and his five-year-old son Eli. Leah giggled her way through that story and loved seeing how James and Eli made their story into a conversation between them. This story has inspired us to do the same thing, make up a story together. So we have James Kochalka to thank for that.
I liked the story too – it was fun and silly and just perfect for kids.
She also really liked the other Johnny Boo story, “Johnny Boo & Squiggle”, this one done solely by papa James. Leah really liked the “squiggle power” joke and especially the big “boo” that comes from Johnny Boo’s mouth.
Leah was kind of bored by “Belly Buster,” a story featuring a girl, Ivy, and her pet dog Korgi. Leah was really interested in the little girl in the story and seemed disappointed that the story was about the dog and not about the girl. We both were frustrated by the surreal nature of the story. Neither of us really understood the point of the story.
I was surprised how much Leah disliked the main “Owly” story. Though she agreed the story was “fun” and “cute”, she had real frustration with the story’s lack of words. Leah loves to read print books, and I think she had real trouble making sense of a story with so few words.
When we flipped to the back cover, it was obvious that Leah was most interested in reading more stories featuring Johnny Boo. Kochalka’s stories read like they’re done by kids, and she loved that.
I asked Leah how she would rate the comic, and she said three in a five scale, so there you are. She said overall the comic was “ok but not great.”
I appreciate Chris Staros and Top Shelf making this book available for me and my daughter, because we had a good time reading it together. I was really surprised by her reactions to it, and we’ll have to seek out some “Johnny Boo” books.