Recommended for ages 8-12
Tao the Little Samurai is a very cute series by writer Laurent Richard and illustrator Nicolas Ryser. Pranks and Attacks is the first book in the series, which follows the daily adventures of Tao, a little boy in training to be a samurai – but he’s constantly late to school, tries to avoid his chores, and would rather play a samurai video game than train most of the time!
The book features 1-2 page story strips, which is a good way to keep younger readers interested without overwhelming them with a big story. They can read about Tao’s adventures in short bites, put it down to do homework (or watch TV and play video games), and come back to it at their leisure. The stories are sequential – this is a graphic novel – and there are recurring characters, which will give the readers a comfortable sense of familiarity. The stories are also fun – Tao is a regular kid. He’s in trouble for being late, he wants to play with his friends rather than do schoolwork, and he has grand visions for himself – he even writes, on a hall of successful students, “This Space Reserved For Tao”.
The art has a manga influence – think manga for younger audiences, like Hamtaro – with exaggerated facial expressions, particularly the eyes, and movement. The colors are bright and eye-catching. This is light reading, which is great for summer reading, especially for over-tested, stressed out kids. Tao: The Little Samurai is out in paperback now, and is part of a series, including the adventures, Ninjas and Knockouts! and Clowns and Dragons!