Friday, September 23, 2011

The smurfs and the magic flute by Peyo

Fans of the classic Asterix the Gaul comics will enjoy this classic Smurf stories. I don't remember much about the Smurfs television show (other than the bit of family lore which says it was the Smurfs who were the last straw and inspired my mom to turn off the tv for good when I was 4 or 5). A quick glance at forthcoming books shows the Smurfs are on their way back; easy readers, 8x8s, and more will be available in May. There's an upcoming movie, which accounts for the renewed interest. I picked up some of the cartoons at Walmart for the library and quite a few people have been happy to discover them (although not as many people as have been thrilled with the Care Bears movies I added. Okaaaay).

Papercutz is getting on the bandwagon with what I had understood to be reprints of the original French comics, although this isn't reflected in the copyrights of the title I looked at. However, the art has the classic, scratchy feel and definitely reminds me of Asterix. Oh, it says on the back. Must be from pre-1980s, since the television show was based on these.

In this particular story, a boy named Peewee is driving everyone insane with his music. When he accidentally gets his hands on a magic flute that makes people dance, things are worse than ever. Than a villain named Matthew Oilycreep steals the flute and uses it to ransack several towns; he takes this treasure to the wicked and greedy Lord Mumford and the two conspire to use the flute to become rich and powerful. Peewee and his friend Johan set out on a journey to recover the flute and with the help of a wizard travel to the land of the Smurfs, makers of the magic flutes, to recover the magic flute before disaster strikes.

This is the second volume in the Smurfs graphic novel series, so presumably we find out more about who the various characters are in the first story. The art is lively and detailed and the whole story is beautifully organized in panels that are clear and easy to follow. There's not too much of the annoying "smurf" language, and several funny moments.

The dialogue is in a fairly light and rather sketchy font, and there's quite a bit of text. Younger kids might be interested in the Smurf characters, but will need some help to get through the vocabulary and some encouragement to get past the smaller type.

Verdict: Not an absolutely necessary series, but a fun addition to your graphic novel collection. If you purchase these, I highly recommend the hardcovers. Papercutz has very affordable hardcovers but their paperbacks have truly awful bindings.

ISBN: 1597072095; Published August 2010 by Papercutz; Borrowed from the library

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