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SCROOGE

From the Classic Graphic Novel Collection series

Adequate alternatives to the sometimes tediously wordy originals, though the lack of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present...

A double dose of Dickens, severely “adapted” in this graphic format but featuring illustrations that thicken the period atmosphere.

Though both paraphrased stories, originally published in French, show signs of careless translation in occasional typos and misquoted lyrics, it’s their plots that have taken the most punishment. Squiring the shaken Scrooge through time, Marley’s ghost is the only specter in “A Christmas Carol,” and in the lesser-known “A Remembrance of Mugby,” a kind drifter looking for a home adopts a child who is not, in the original, either fatherless or abandoned. The tales are nonetheless still coherent and bear both their sentiment and their lessons well. In Meyrand’s small sequential panels, the Victorian settings are evoked in fine but clear details of dress and décor. The artist ably captures mood with lighting that ranges from deep shadows to rich golden tones and sensitively depicts Scrooge’s remorse and inner transformation, as well as the fundamental decency of the unnamed protagonist of the other episode, in expertly drawn body language and changes of expression.

Adequate alternatives to the sometimes tediously wordy originals, though the lack of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come seems a major loss. (biographical sketch) (Graphic classic. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59707-346-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2012

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THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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BAD KITTY GOES ON VACATION

From the Bad Kitty (chapter book) series

This kid-friendly satire ably sets claws into a certain real-life franchise.

A trip to the Love Love Angel Kitty World theme park (“The Most Super Incredibly Happy Place on Earth!”) turns out to be an exercise in lowered expectations…to say the least.

When Uncle Murray wins a pair of free passes it seems at first like a dream come true—at least for Kitty, whose collection of Love Love Kitty merch ranges from branded underwear to a pink chainsaw. But the whole trip turns into a series of crises beginning with the (as it turns out) insuperable challenge of getting a cat onto an airplane, followed by the twin discoveries that the hotel room doesn’t come with a litter box and that the park doesn’t allow cats. Even kindhearted Uncle Murray finds his patience, not to say sanity, tested by extreme sticker shock in the park’s gift shop and repeated exposures to Kitty World’s literally nauseating theme song (notation included). He is not happy. Fortunately, the whole cloying enterprise being a fiendish plot to make people so sick of cats that they’ll pick poultry as favorite pets instead, the revelation of Kitty’s feline identity puts the all-chicken staff to flight and leaves the financial coffers plucked. Uncle Murray’s White, dumpy, middle-aged figure is virtually the only human one among an otherwise all-animal cast in Bruel’s big, rapidly sequenced, and properly comical cartoon panels.

This kid-friendly satire ably sets claws into a certain real-life franchise. (Graphic satire. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20808-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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