Saturday, December 5, 2009



By Chris Wilson

Author: Jay Lynch
Illustrator: Dean Haspiel
Publisher: Toon Books
Genre: Superhero

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 40
Color: Color
ISBN-13: 978-0-9799238-5-2
ISBN-10: 0-9799238-5-9

When my sister and I were kids we fought, and I don’t mean tiny tiffs or bits of scuttlebutt. We had a fight once over a gallon of milk. Half a jug and a large red smack across my face was all that was left by the end of it. My sister, seven years my senior, had won. She was right but I would never admit it.

Like Mona and Joey, my sister and I loved one another but we approached the world very differently. Too bad we did not have our own town’s version of the Mighty Mojo superhero extraordinaire who needed to pass his powerful legacy to us. That would have been so cool.

Mona and Joey, on the other hand, did have a town hero and he did give the two his super suit, which contained might powers. Unfortunately for the brother-sister duo, there was only one suit for two kids. What to do, what to do?

Right from the beginning our heroes are faced with the dilemma of having to get along [gasp] in order to make a difference and solve the problem. Their problem happened to be the sinister Saw-Jaw, but we all know he is simply a metaphor for any obstacle that stands in the way of goodness, truth and justice.

It takes time for Mo and Jo to figure it out, but they do, eventually, and they become a fabulous fighting team, throwing wrenches in the mechanics of evildoers everywhere.

Toon Books is dedicated to providing primary students with high quality, engaging comic literature and so far every book I have read with kids or to kids, has been well received. It can be hard to find comics for the very young, but Toon Books continues to craft solid stories for the very young. That is where the love of and the confidence in reading begins.

Chris’ Rating: Ages 4 and older
Publisher’s Recommendation: Ages 4 and older
Guided Reading Level: L
Lexile: GN 290
Reading Recovery Level: 17

I have used several Toon Books with Kindergartener, first and second graders, including MO AND JO. The students loved how the two siblings fight, fight, fight, but then come together in the end. Such experiences resonate with children who have brothers or sisters. They understand and can relate and it is that relevance and attachment to literature that helps build strong ties to literature.

Do not be afraid to put kids in groups of two or three and have them do a shared reading. The students can each pick a character (which can include a narrator, human characters, creatures, animals, or inanimate objects) and read the book aloud, each reading his or her part at the appropriate time. It builds a sense of community – a shared literature experience – that is unique to comic literature.

I used MO AND JO this week with my 100 first graders. We have been discussing character, setting and plot in the Technology Lab. We then read stories online and discuss these elements of fiction. I used MO AND JO to talk about plot. The book can be found online for free at The site allows the students to have the books read to them, allowing me to use higher level books with lower level students. They can all read the book at their own pace at their own computer. This allows me to meet my technology standards while still promote the curricular needs of the grade level classroom.


MO AND JO is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Lesson plans are also available from Toon Books.

Highly Recommended
I simply cannot recommend MO AND MO and the other Toon Books enough for the primary grades. If you interact with K-3 students, you should not be without this book in your library.

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