Books by Joann Sfar

adapted by Joann Sfar, illustrated by Joann Sfar, translated by Sarah Ardizzone
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

A prolific comic-book artist tackles the beloved standard of French children's literature in graphic form with middling results. As if taking his cues from the late Antoine de Saint-Exupéry himself, Sfar approaches his source material with no small degree of deference. The text is reproduced nearly verbatim, and the artist takes great pains to faithfully render the intricately detailed illustrations Saint-Exupéry imagined (and stated in the text). If anything, Sfar may be too true to the original. His drawings are charmingly competent, but they lack creativity. This version of the doe-eyed prince, though clearly partaking of the illustrator's unique aesthetic, isn't really anything readers haven't seen many times before. The haunting landscapes of Saint-Exupéry's surreal wonderland might seem the stuff of which illustrators dream, but these fall unusually flat. Standard six-per-page panels might have been interwoven with alternate perspectives and formats; without such relief, this adaptation plods. A rare miss from an otherwise adept and engaging artist; opt for the original and an evening under the stars. (Graphic classic. 8 & up)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2008

Three episodes—two of which were originally published in English separately in 2003—feature the diminutive, grey-skinned bloodsucker, his human friend Michael and a haunted-houseful of spectacularly lurid ghouls and creepies. In the first, lonely Little Vampire meets Michael after going to his school at night, sitting at his desk and doing his homework. In the second Michael receives kung fu lessons from an eldritch instructor in hopes of ridding himself of a bully. The third, titled "The Canine Defenders Club," has the two buddies, with help from Little Vampire's gruff, scarlet pooch Phantomato, breaking into a cosmetics-testing laboratory to rescue three captive dogs. All three tales progress in small, brightly colored panels packed with brisk action, sight gags and dialogue in miniscule type. Fans of Emmanuel Guibert's Sardine in Outer Space series, which is illustrated by Sfar, will find his solo outings just as appealingly off-the-wall. Libraries that bought the first two chapters (which were issued by a different publisher) will need this as a value-added replacement. (Graphic novel. 9-11) Read full book review >
THE RABBI’S CAT 2 by Joann Sfar
Released: April 1, 2008

"Ranks up there with the most provocative graphic narratives for adults."
The sequel to Sfar's graphic novel about a talking cat. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2007

"No glorified comic book, this graphic novel aspires to fine art."
Mummies and fathers complicate a love story that spans centuries in this gorgeously illustrated fable. Read full book review >
SARDINE IN OUTER SPACE 3 by Emmanuel Guibert
Released: April 1, 2007

Doughty young Sardine and her cohorts continue to vanquish hilariously dopey Supermuscleman, mad scientist Doc Krok and other villains in nine more or less independent new adventures that range from helping out a crowd of cartoon characters angrily protesting because they're so lamely drawn ("Hey! You could at least draw me some pants!") to rescuing acres of stolen French fries and herds of wild "Burgeegies" in the mouthwatering kingdom of Yummy. Presented in colorful, crowded cartoon panels and well-endowed with both self-referential comments ("Comics are cool but we only get 10 pages per story . . . A movie's longer, so we'd have more time to kick Supermuscleman's butt") and characters with names like Emailia and Fetcher Bone, this expert mix of action, gross humor and clever side remarks will, despite the lack of a cohesive plot line, draw carloads of Captain Underpants graduates. (Graphic fantasy. 8-11)Read full book review >
SARDINE IN OUTER SPACE 2 by Emmanuel Guibert
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

Young space pirate Sardine checks in for a dozen more mini-adventures, in most of which she, her sidekick Little Louie and hulking captain Yellow Shoulder get the better of evil Supermuscleman and his rubbery orange minion Doc Krok. Along with occasional side trips to play soccer with a giant Dunderhead's detachable navel or to rescue Yellow Shoulder, the heroic pirates sabotage Supermuscleman's child brainwashing machine, treat him to an explosive set of Christmas presents and engage in a high speed chase along the Milky Way that ends suddenly when the Milk turns. In one episode that edges perilously close to over-the-top, a pair of his stuttering star thieves briefly captures them. All related in cartoon panels, printed on coated paper to brighten the colors and featuring easily legible lettering in big dialogue balloons, these episodes might seem a touch repetitious to adults, especially those familiar with volume one (May 2006), but they will keep the younger audiences to whom they're actually addressed chortling. (Graphic novel. 7-9)Read full book review >
SARDINE IN OUTER SPACE by Emmanuel Guibert
Released: May 1, 2006

Taking a seat in first class aboard the graphic-novels-for-preteens train, this import features a carrot-topped lass who travels the starways with her piratical uncle Yellow Shoulders, foiling the plots of Supermuscleman, nefarious Chief Executive Dictator of the Universe. Presented in small sequential panels of brightly hued cartoon art and spacious dialogue balloons, Sardine's adventures take her from the space prison Azkatraz to Planet Discoball (for a dance contest presided over by Empress Laser Diskette and her offspring, Prince Beejeez), from encounters with deadly, as well as thoroughly nerve-wracking, Honkfish to a deliciously violent round of "No-Child-Left-Behind-School II," a virtual game. With nonstop action, humor geared to multiple levels of cultural awareness and the promise of more episodes to come, even readers stubbornly resisting the trendy format's lure will find that, as Supermuscleman sneers shortly before gorily blasting his own foot, "Resistance is futile." (Graphic novel. 7-9)Read full book review >
THE RABBI’S CAT by Joann Sfar
Released: Aug. 9, 2005

"An unexpectedly haunting work from a major talent."
An Algerian rabbi's cat gains the power of speech, giving it all the greater ability for mischief. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

The spotlight shifts to Little Vampire's new human friend Michael in this mistitled sequel to Little Vampire Goes to School (p. 810). Beaten up in front of his girlfriend Sabrina by a bully named Jeffrey, Michael eagerly follows his undead buddy into a magic painting to meet Rabbi Solomon, feline "cat-balist" and kung-fu master. After a quick bout or two, Michael's ready to rumble; unfortunately, in the meantime a trio of Little Vampire's over-helpful monster friends have gone to Jeffrey's house and eaten him. Several misadventures later, Jeffrey's pieced back together—and though in the ensuing battle Michael's martial arts skills disappear as quickly as they came, Sabrina sends the bully staggering off in a daze. Illustrated in crowded cartoon panels, the newest episode in this freewheeling graphic mini-novel offers plenty of gags (in more than one sense of the word), but will be incomprehensible to readers unfamiliar with the first chapter. (Picture book. 9-11)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2003

Designed and illustrated in graphic-novel style, this tongue-in-cheek import features a great array of skeletal ghosts, leering boggles, misshapen monsters—and one young, egg-shaped vampire in search of a friend. Lonely Little Vampire is dismayed to discover that human school isn't held at night, but sitting at the same empty desk night after night, he soon finds himself exchanging notes with Michael, its daytime occupant. Overcoming the obvious obstacles, the two meet at last; enticed to visit Little Vampire's old mansion, Michael proves sturdy enough to put aside his initial terrified response to its ooky-spooky, but by and large friendly, residents, and the stage is set for a rosy future. This reads like the opening chapters in a longer tale, but the set pieces and side jokes—"Would you give me your daughter's hand?" "We lost it. Still got her foot if ya want"—will keep preteen comic-book fans amused. (Picture book. 8-12)Read full book review >