Children’s Graphic Novels | How did children’s books get so sinister?

CHILDREN'S

Happy Monday! Let’s start this week with something a little bit different and take a look at the new children’s fiction. I requested a few graphic novels from NetGalley, because frankly I was interested to see what kind of books kids read nowadays, and decided to combine all three reviews in one post.

«Little Pierrot Vol 1: Get the Moon» by Alberto Varanda. ★★☆☆☆

35546694Little Pierrot is a young boy with a very large imagination and his head forever in the stars. Joined by his snail buddy, the aptly named Mr. Snail, he sets off to explore the boundaries of space in a series of magical and surreal adventures: first to reach the Moon, and then the Stars… Classic comics storytelling for young readers in the vein of Calvin & Hobbes.

This book had one of the most eye-pleasing illustrations out of three. Considering the difference in styles, it’s not possible to have a fair comparison, but this style of illustrations felts more detailed and age-appropriate, which I really liked. And it also reminded me of some old cartoons I used to watch when I was little.

The beginning was funny and intriguing, especially when we were introduced to Mr. Snail and Pierrot looking for different excuses to skip school. I found it funny and prepared myself for a cute little story.

And then it went from entertaining to very confusing. The story kept jumping from one scene to another, and I was constantly wondering Where Why and What was happening. Which is not a good sign considering that this is a children’s book. These mini-stories felt disconnected from each other and contributed even more to my ever growing bemusement.

«The Little Red Wolf» by Amélie Fléchais. ★★☆☆☆

35905318Lose yourself in the dark forests of Amelie Flechais’ spectacular artwork. A young wolf, on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, is charmed by the nice little girl who offers to help him… but nice is not the same as good. A haunting fairy tale for children and adults alike.

Once again, the two stars are mostly for the gorgeous illustrations, beautiful fonts and eye-catching position of text on the pages.  This book is just gorgeous to look at.

The story, however, is very dark. This is a twist on the well-known Little Red Riding Hood, where the roles are switched, as we are following a little red wolf’s adventures.

There were several things that didn’t sit well with me:

  • particular words, like “juicy” rabbit and “dumb” trail. I guess for a children’s book I was expecting milder choices of adjectives;
  • I got a little bit confused when the narrator called our main character “What an arrogant little wolf” because I thought we were supposed to like him? And the wrong choices were obvious enough without the need to emphasize them;
  • and I guess the most obvious one was the part where the rabbit was eaten by parts, which once again, I did not expect from a children’s book.
«The Lost Path» by Amélie Fléchais. ★★★★☆

36596402Three young boys set off from Camp Happiness, map in hand, determined to be the first to find the treasure before anyone else. But the shortcut they take leads to something far more spectacular and sinister! All manner of magical beasties live in these woods, and the kids find themselves caught between warring Forest Spirits. Will the three boys find their way out of trouble? Get your map and ready, set, go! Amélie Fléchais’s incredible artwork combines the best of French illustration with manga influences. A spooky new fairytale, for fans of Over the Garden Wall.

Enchanted by Amélie Fléchais illustrations from the previous book, I had to get the ARC of «The Lost Path» as soon as I saw it pop up on NetGalley. And it was so much more enjoyable than the previous one!

 I loved the use of only a few colors and shades, making everything look very homogenous, without harsh transitions. Part of the book was in black and white, but I assume that those were temporary placeholders and the final version will have gorgeous light browns and greens throughout.

What surprised me the most was that I actually enjoyed the story! It was much more age appropriate and just entertaining. I love a good treasure hunt and whimsical creatures, and this book, even if a little absurd at points, had it all. 

My favorite one was definitely the fox in a coat in search of his supersonic bicycle. Nothing can beat that!

What new children’s novels have you encountered recently? Would you purchase a children’s book just for its illustrations? Let me know in the comments down below! 

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