Thursday, December 4, 2008

A tale of two Chris's: "Ottoline and the Yellow Cat" and "The Acme Novelty Library"

I discovered this gem of a book while browsing an independent bookseller's store in northern Michigan and had to have it - I mean for my niece. Of course I had to assure the quality by reading it.

I thought Chris Riddell did a marvelous job blending the text and illustrations. Some pages the text is more dominant and the illustration in others. It keeps you wondering what the next page will bring. The whimsical shapes and vivid red spot colors were reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, while the cross hatching and formal sounding language brought in hints of Edward Gorey. I loved the caricatures of the women with their lap dogs and the dogs themselves.

I'm not sure if Chris Riddell inspired Chris Ware's book cover from "The Acme Novelty Library", or if it's the other way around. I like the variety of styles both in line and color in this book.  My favorite is the astronaut finding just the right remote location on another planet to paint some graffiti.  I think it's because it's a nice break from all the angst, satire and dark humor found in the other pages.

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