The well-known legend is brought to life once more by one of the U.K.'s most famed comics.
Everyone knows the story of the Pied Piper, and it would be an easy cash-in for any celebrity to regurgitate the tale and wait for the money to come rolling in. Thankfully Brand refuses to take the easy way out. He attacks his first children's book with full force, coloring the story in with humorous asides, witty turns of phrase and a few choice nuggets of sage wisdom. Illustrator Riddell is just as sharp, filling the book with eye-popping illustrations and beautiful coloring. Brand's biting humor isn't toned down in the slightest; there's a superabundance of potty humor, and he closely treads the line between tasteful and tasteless. He includes Snicket-ian jokes about the powers of the author and the purpose of storytelling that will surely fly over a few children's heads, at least the first time through. More important is Brand's treatment of the buffoons and bullies that occupy Hamelin: His takes on religion, sexism, consumerism and self-esteem are just as important to the text as the classic tale it’s based on. His opinions are as easy to discern as many a conservative pundit’s, though very much on the other side of the political spectrum.
A smart, funny, iconoclastic take on an old classic. (Fantasy. 8-12)