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Kochalka dishes up a brief episode in comics-style panels, featuring two ghosts, a monster, melted ice cream and burping. If that’s not a foolproof formula for pleasing the Oshkosh set, nothing is. Looking something like a one-eyed pink-and-yellow sock monkey in the bright, very simply drawn panels, the monster insists to Johnny Boo and his ghostlet companion Squiggle that “I’m not BAD, I’m nice”—but so greedily does it gulp an offered carton of ice cream that little Squiggle goes down too. Nor does the monster show much remorse…until Squiggle uses his special “squiggle power” to do loop-de-loops that force the monster to belch him out. Even then the burps don’t stop until Johnny uses his special “BOO power” to scare them away. Johnny’s debut is slender, even for the price, but he’s a true crowd-pleaser: playful, clever and ever ready to forgive, forget or bellow out a BOO. (Graphic novel. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 25, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-60309-013-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Top Shelf Productions

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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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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