Friday, February 28, 2014

Dinosaurs: In the Plumeri and Bloz

What? It's not a day to review nonfiction! I know, I know, but when I originally started seeing publicity for this I fixed it in my mind as fiction. Once I found it wasn't really...well, it's still sort of fictional in my head.

So, this is another series Papercutz has brought over from Europe - France or Belgium, since it looks like the original was in French. It has a lot of elements that will be familiar to readers of foreign comics. The comic strip format, smaller type and dense text, and the familiar comic art with lots of bug eyes and physical humor.

What's different about this is there's not really a storyline - it's a compendium of dinosaurs with a healthy dose of humor. The endpapers show a comical progression of dinosaurs by size from the massive brachiosaurus down to...a human, running away with a look of shocked terror, visible even on his silhouetted face. The "story" begins with an introduction to dinosaurs by Professor Indino Jones. Then we move on to the main part of the story. Each different dinosaur has a page or two. With speech balloons, jokes, and lots of dino action, we learn a a few facts and usually something interesting about the dinosaur and it ends with a quick run-down on the dinosaurs habitat, diet, and physical characteristics. The sections on specific dinosaurs are interspersed with Professor Jones' giving information about dinosaurs from their history to paleontology with, of course, lots of jokes and humor.

This is light and fun - kids who feel they're "too old" for the dinosaur craze will just love the silly humor, while younger kids will enjoy this as a read-aloud. The one thing I'm not sure about is where to put it. While it undoubtedly has strong nonfiction elements, things like talking dinosaurs and time-traveling professors are certainly fictional and the art style reinforces the more fictionalized aspects of the book. I think I'll be putting this in juvenile fiction because I think it will find more readers amongst those looking for funny comics than kids who are planted in the nonfiction dinosaur section. Same reasons I have Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales in fiction.

Verdict: Light and fun, this is an entertaining and painlessly educational read that a wide range of ages will enjoy. Not a must-have purchase perhaps, but definitely one to add if you have the budget to expand your graphic novel collection, for a school collection if you are doing units on dinosaurs, or if you just want to pump up your circulation statistics!

ISBN: 9781597074902; Published 2014 by Papercutz; Review copy provided by publisher; Purchased for the library (and I preordered the rest of the series)

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