creator Art Spiegelman and art editor of The New Yorker
Françoise Mouly created a gorgeous splash with their deliciously oversized comic art collections Little Lit
and Strange Stories for Strange Kids
. In their latest compilation It Was a Dark and Silly Night...
fans will find darkly delightful comics by Lemony Snicket and Richard Sala, William Joyce, Neil Gaiman and Gahan Wilson, J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh, Carlos Nine, Kaz, and more. The editors asked this talented crew of cartoonists, novelists, and children's book illustrators and authors to begin a story "It was a dark and silly night." Lemony Snicket took "silly" to stand for "Somewhat Intelligent, Largely Laconic Yeti." William Joyce tells the story of "Art Aimesworth, boy crimefighter and all around whiz-kid" who attempts to isolate Giggle-illium, the long-searched-for silly atom. Neil Gaiman begins his dark and silly night with "a light and grumpy afternoon." Kaz spins the tale of a bizarre upside-down family that only rights itself when a gas explosion blows the house up, in both senses. As with the other Little Lit collections, readers will be amazed, amused, baffled, turned upside-down and righted again, all in the course of a happy afternoon of browsing. (All ages over 9 or so) --Karin Snelson
From School Library Journal
Grade 2 Up-Ask 15 authors and artists from the picture book and/or comics world to start a story with "It was a dark and silly night-" and you get the selections that comprise this third volume in the series of cartoon creations and collaborations. Hallmarks of the first two "Little Lit" books are all here: stylish graphic design and layout, full-color art, large format, and quality heavyweight paper. Several of the same names are here, also-including William Joyce, Kaz, and Martin Handford-but intriguing new pairs appear for the first time. The nicely mysterious circularity of Lemony Snicket's story, which begins "In this case `silly' stands for- Somewhat Intelligent, Largely Laconic Yeti," plays out against Richard Sala's fairly straightforward cartooning, enhancing the deadpan absurdity of the tale. Neil Gaiman's creepy saga of a ghouls-just-wanna-have-fun cemetery party derives much of its goofiness from Gahan Wilson's trademark goggle-eyed, lumpish kids and creatures. Other standouts include Joost Swarte's domestic drama turned slapstick, complete with a detached head sewn back on, which has the look of a slightly surreal "Tintin" adventure, and comics legend Basil Wolverton's "Jumpin' Jupiter" spaceman panels from 1952, still fresh and funny, are full of punny detail and dizzy wordplay. Less successful are J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh's postmodern penguins (including Chongo Chingi from Penguin Dreams [Chronicle, 1999]) on a flat and unfunny journey from the South Pole to Hollywood, and Barbara McClintock's picture puzzle, which is a bit too dark and indistinct to be entirely successful. On the whole, however, the variety of art and text, from the bizarre to the benign, offers a cast of cuckoos for just about every taste.Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA
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