Jill Thompson. This first collection includes: "The Scary Godmother," "The Revenge of Jimmy," "The Mystery Date," "The Boo Flu," "Tea for Orson," and as a special bonus at the end, there's some additional art. The collection is labeled as a children's fiction/fantasy book, but I spent literally hours pouring over the pages and enjoying both the stories and the art.
Awhile back I started talking about this book and promised a review of it, what better time than Halloween season? Bear with me as I'm not accustomed to reviewing graphic novels, but here goes!
Thompson touches on topics that affect nearly everyone at some point in their lives: fears, being left out, bullies. The stories are fun and uplifting; readers will be able to identify themselves, their children, their friends in the characters - both human and monster!
The writing is both poetic and playful:
'She's cookin' up potions and bottling frights! Capturin' shrieks an' paintin' clouds into the night! An' when every autumn leaf is crisped, and shivers chill your bones - she gathers up the Boozle, 'cause their work has just begun!' ("The Revenge of Jimmy")
From alliteration to metaphor to rhyme, Thompson paints as magically with her words as she does with her colors:
With time running out, and so much at stake, she didn't have time for her unionized breaks! It's hard to eat sandwiches by the light of the moon...or sip slurps of soup while you're riding a broom! ("The Boo Flu")
Nature is personified page after page:
Thunder rumbled in the inky clouds that hung in the Fright Side sky. BOOM HOO HOO! The sky sobbed furiously - casting down sheets of stormy tears! ("The Revenge of Jimmy")
There's a combination of narrative and illustrated dialogue bubbles to tell the stories. Within the illustrated dialogue bubbles, Thompson develops character through word choice; style and weight of lettering - I love that the spider speaks in cursive - and dialect, "What 'choo talkin' 'bout, Hannah?"
It's hard for me to say whether the art or the language is my favorite element of this collection. They are both so vivid and brilliant and make the stories come alive on the page.
The full-color comic sheets of this book are spectacular. The attention to detail makes for literally hours of entertainment as the reader makes out bone curlers and boo-tifying cream, a seat-belted broom, the grade on a discarded school paper amidst a mountain of mess in a young boys bedroom. And one of the most endearing features? Thompson's resemblance to her Spooky Godmother.
This beautifully bound collection is over 200 pages of smiles and laughs and heart-warming fun. It will provide young and old alike with hours of entertainment and some very sore smiling muscles.
SCARY GODMOTHER is available in hardcover from Dark Horse Books (ISBN: 978-1-59582-589-6)