Thursday, October 30, 2008

Review: Stinky

The new publisher TOON Books, created by New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly and her husband Art Spiegelman, has released a number of children's comics that are worthy of a place on your kid's bookshelf. Here is the first of three reviews of their newest books.

In Eleanor Davis's Stinky (TOON Books, 2008, 40 pages, $12.95), the title character is a smelly monster who tries to defend his beloved swamp from the encroachment of a friendly boy. Stinky doesn't want the boy around because he thinks kids don't like mud, smelly things, or monsters. But hey - this kid does! And so they become buddies in spite of Stinky's initial feelings.

It's a very sweet story, and one that I felt comfortable reading to my three-year-old. It's fun, moves along quickly, and includes lots of little funny bits about all the gross stuff that Stinky loves.

And the art really is perfect. In fact, in my review of America's Best Comics 2008, I wrote about how creator Eleanor Davis's creatures "seemed to come straight out of childhood nightmares and fairy tales." Well, meet her new creation, Stinky:

You can tell that Davis was born to draw stuff like this. The art is distinctive yet attractive, simple enough for children to follow but never dull. Plus, Davis drew two things that I would have LOVED as a kid:

(1) A Map of the Swamp:

(click to enlarge -- and EXPLORE!)

(2) A cut-away view of a "bottomless" pit:

These two bits give you an idea of the playful nature of this book. The whole thing is a pleasure to read. It's a great comic book for kids.

You can see sample pages here, and you can buy the book here: Stinky

Disclaimer: This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

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