Dolls, socks, and dryer lint all come alive in Leijten’s disorienting graphic novel.
When a few buttons, a bit of wool, some yarn, and a ball of lint come together in the back of a cozy dryer, Lint Boy and his brother, Lint Bear, are born. The pair lives happily among several lonely socks missing their mates until a large pair of wrinkly hands reaches into the dryer and snatches Lint Bear away along with a pile of clothes. The hands belong to a mean old woman named Mrs. PinchnSqueeze, who was formerly a cruel, young white girl named Tortura. Decades ago, Tortura delighted in stealing and ruining the dolls of other children, until one doll managed to escape the girl’s clutches, igniting her suspicions that the dolls she has snatched are actually alive. Now, as an old woman still infuriated by the one doll that escaped, she means to carry out a destructive vendetta against them all. With some heartfelt motivational speeches, Lint Boy stages a daring revolt with the other captured dolls to rescue his brother and rid everyone of Mrs. PinchnSqueeze for good. Although this enthrallingly dark adventure is enlivened by narration just this side of the fourth wall, disorganization of both story events and page layout undermines the narrative intrigue and momentum. And unfortunately, the lack of experience of those readers at which this book is aimed—those easing into chapter books or just starting with graphic novels—makes them most susceptible to being disoriented by this complex tale.
Provided they’re able to follow it, readers will have a difficult time putting it down. (Fantasy. 7-11)