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This large format comic book comes with the following motto
on the back cover: COMICStheyre not just for grown-ups anymore! It includes work by Art Spiegelman, William Joyce,
Bruce McCall, Kaz, Charles
Burns, and many others, in a total of 64 pages inside the hardcovers with a
board game on the inside front and back covers. These artists, mostly known for their work on comics for the more
mature reader, here aim their work at children. Children will, I hope, appreciate the sly humor and wonderful
Spiegelman gives us the story of
Prince Rooster, a prince who believes he is a rooster, and acts
accordingly. An old man manages to stop
the prince from behaving so outrageously, but telling the prince that he too is
a rooster, and joining him in his cock-a-doodle-do-ing, but then saying that
roosters can also act like humans when they want to. William James provides a terrific image of Humpty Dumpty lying
broken, but in this story, he is put together by Myron & Ethel Orbly, who
are egg lovers. Daniel Clowes, the
artist behind Eightball comic, draws the tale of Sleeping Beauty. Although one might think that his
distinctive style is best suited to the postmodern blankness of contemporary
teenagers, in fact it works very well with castles, kings and queens. His characters still have that same
blankness, and their presence in a traditional fairy tale gives the story a
bizarre feel but theres no reason why children should not be able to
appreciate this incongruity as much as adults.
A sense of irreverence and
self-consciousness pervades these stories, but they are not poking fun at the
genre of the fairy tale as mining the genre for the pleasures inherent in
them. The sense of awareness of the
genre in these pages is hardly new or subversive its in such popular movies
after all and children are savvy and creative enough to play with the genre
themselves. Little Lit takes
great pleasure in silliness and fantasy, and allows its characters to make wise
cracks at the same time. Several of the
stories also show a heightened awareness of the existence of evil and tragedy
that threatens us, rather than editing out the nasty bits that have been an
essential part of the tradition of fairy tales. That contrast between the fortunate and the unfortunate helps to
heighten the appreciation of the absurd moments in the tales, as well as
bringing to mind the way that fairy tales can be a part of moral education of
children. This book is great fun and I
recommend it to readers of all ages.
Little Lit Web Site
© 2001 Christian Perring. First Serial Rights.
Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College,
Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review.
His main research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry.
He is especially interested in exploring how philosophers can
play a greater role in public life. He is available to give talks
on many philosophical or controversial issues in mental health.
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