From Publishers Weekly
The latest entry in the postapocalyptic survivalist fantasy stakes has a peculiar sentimental streak in it. Gus, an almost parodically naïve young boy with antlers sprouting from his forehead and a taste for chocolate, is one of the few children born after some kind of manmade catastrophe. Following the death of his Bible-thumping father, the only other person he's ever known, he's rescued from hunters by a hulking, rifle-toting man called Jepperd, who promises to take him to a sanctuary for kids like him (and slaughters the refugees from Clichéd Dialogue University who get in their way en route). But could Jepperd be more than he seems? (One guess.) Lemire's thick, crunching brush strokes can be rawly expressive; he's got a terrific sense of composition and narrative flow, and the crumbling settings he draws effectively evoke a blasted, forsaken world. Too often, though, his artwork simply comes off as crude. His characters' bodies and features are often distractingly inconsistent from one panel to the next. And Gus's dream vision of a cartoon deer (identified as Dandy) telling him to run away, which should be a dramatic peak of this volume, falls flat because Lemire can't pull off his attempted shift away from his baseline style. (May)
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up–Years ago during the Affliction, billions of people died and children were born as human/animal hybrids. Gus, a human/deer hybrid, was raised in isolation for years, but after his father dies hunters come to capture him. He is rescued by a mysterious man who tells him that he will take him to a preserve for hybrid children. While Gus is never sure if he should trust Jepperd, he goes with him because he is lonely. What follows is a voyage through what is left of the country, during which Jepperd gives Gus candy (and the nickname "Sweet Tooth") and fights through all of the obstacles that are in their way, usually with violent methods. While Gus is the protagonist, Jepperd continues to steal the spotlight. Readers know that he has sympathy for Gus and for other characters they meet along the way, and they know that he saves Gus's life multiple times. But they also know that he frequently lies. What isn't clear until the end of the book is just how much he has been lying. Sweet Tooth is often visually stunning and even cinematic. It primarily uses a muted palette that reflects the darkness of this postapocalyptic world, but bright colors burst from the page during moments of violence, and there are quite a few of those in this book. An outstanding choice for most collections.Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
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