Monday, December 04, 2006

Book-A-Day #141 (12/4): Chickenhare: The House of Klaus by Chris Grine

This is an "all-ages" graphic novel that I found on a giveaway pile at work (have I mentioned recently that I love my job?) and read tonight because I'm not quite done with Midnight Tides (Definitely tomorrow, though.)

I thought this would be something I could pass on to Thing 1, but, having read it, I don't think I will -- it may say that it's for "all-ages," but the lower end of "all," in this case, is about ten.

Our hero, Chickenhare (half-chicken, half-hare, in a world with both talking animals and normalish humans -- no explanations of any of this, which is fine) has been caught and sold to an evil taxidermist, who plans to kill and stuff him. He escapes with some other odd animalish creatures, meets some nasty little snow guys and the ghost of a goat, and eventually give the taxidermist his comeuppance.

The whole thing is drawn in a Jeff Smith-ish style, but it's a bit too nasty for little kids. (There's no major violence on-panel, but the taxidermist will be scary to kids, and the ending has a number of gruesome bits for kids who think about them.) I'd hoped this would be a good "if you liked Bone" book, but it isn't. The sweet spot here is probably tweens; I imagine teenagers would find it too cartoony-kiddy. The art is quite accomplished, and the story is fine; Chickenhare is just a bit too scary for little kids and a bit too cutesy for teens. (What Jeff Smith does looks easy, but you can tell how hard it is when other people try to do the same thing.)

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