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Another quirky offering from the man behind the Johnny Boo series. Three unconventional characters populate this small charmer: Dragon Puncher, the moody, aloof hero of the tale (modeled after Kochalka’s cat, Spandy), Spoony-E, Dragon Puncher’s young, perky, monster sidekick (who bears the likeness of Kochalka’s son, Eli), and the fearsome dragon (the author himself). When Dragon Puncher meets up with Spoony-E and his wooden spoony-spoon, the young monster sees what Dragon Puncher does not—that the hero needs his help to defeat the menacing, drooling dragon. The more Dragon Puncher resists his appeals, the more Spoony-E persists. This is hardly a new formula, but it’s a winning one. A novel mix of photographs and illustration, this unique little gem is chockfull of giggles. The three main characters’ carefully selected Photoshopped expressions are grin-worthy; the author’s grimacing expressions as the dragon are priceless. With its vivid palette and rampant silliness, this work should enrapture young readers. Effervescently bizarre.  (Graphic fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-60309-057-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Top Shelf Productions

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2010

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Though classified as a graphic novelist, Delisle has claimed territory all his own as a graphic-travel memoirist.

Insightful, illuminating memoir of a year under a totalitarian regime.

In 2005-06, Delisle (Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China, 2006, etc.) accompanied his wife, who works as an administrator for Doctors Without Borders, to the country recognized by the United Nations as Myanmar. The United States and other democratic countries, however, still call it Burma, refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the military junta that seized power in 1989. As in the illustrator’s previous adventures in China and North Korea (Pyongyang, 2005), the focus is less on politics and more on the lives of the people he encounters—though such lives are profoundly shaped by politics. He comes to accept checkpoints and censorship as routine, and he does his best to find a suitable home, survive with intermittent electricity and Internet access and take care of his toddler son Louis, whose charm transcends cultural borders. The author also fears malaria, bird flu and poisonous snakes, though the DWB medical community provides more comfort than much of the Burmese citizenry enjoys. Delisle writes and illustrates a children’s booklet on HIV, an important contribution to a country in which heroin and prostitution are rampant. As in previous volumes, his eye for everyday detail combined with droll, matter-of-fact narration humanizes his 14-month experience in a country that might seem traumatic, even intolerable, in other hands. “There were no demands and no uprisings either,” he writes. “Things are always very calm here, thanks to a regime that creates paralysis by fomenting fear on a daily basis.” The undercurrents of Buddhism throughout the book culminate in his visit to a temple, where his meditation proves transformative.

Though classified as a graphic novelist, Delisle has claimed territory all his own as a graphic-travel memoirist.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-897299-50-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

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From the 17 x 23 series

Though this effort has some eerie moments, it’s too abbreviated to offer more than sketches of plot or character.

A boy’s dull summer turns exciting, to say the least, when he acquires a large and temperamental companion in this entry in a new series of graphic short stories.

Kevin’s friends have all gone off to camp or elsewhere, but before boredom can set in, an overnight accumulation of bugs and worms somehow transforms a pile of rocks and miscellaneous junk left in the woods into a mountainous, misshapen figure with a tiny cap atop its faceless head. As Kevin happily looks on, the monster proceeds to build and then violently smash a raft and a series of increasingly elaborate lean-tos made from broken branches or other found materials. One night it leaves a trail of destruction in town, and when, in trying to help it hide from an angry mob, Kevin takes off its cap, it suddenly reverts into a heap of rocks. Along with the abrupt ending (not to mention the never-explained title), readers may both question Kevin’s instant acceptance of the expressionless, mercurial monster and find much of its behavior hard to understand. Exley’s panels of loosely drawn orange and gray-blue cartoons add to the confusion, as many are wordless and some are close-up visual jumbles. Furthermore, the pacing is jerky, and occasional panels seem to exist just to fill a space or to hold a balloon full of Kevin’s chatter.

Though this effort has some eerie moments, it’s too abbreviated to offer more than sketches of plot or character. (Graphic short story. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-907704-79-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Nobrow Ltd.

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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