If Belgium’s two most obvious cultural contributions—a style of waffle and The Adventures of Tintin—are to be roundly applauded, what are we to say about the dubious third, the Smurfs? Although adults will be most familiar with the fad and cartoons from the 1980s, kids now have the chance to see the Smurfs in their original comics incarnation, and it turns out they deserve a warm welcome back. In the three Belgian originals reprinted here, the chubby, blue Hobbit-like creatures battle an outbreak of purple that turns Smurfs mean, try to invent a way to fly, and go on a frustrating hunt for a little solitude, always watched over by the smart but tough-as-nails Papa Smurf. More than a touch reminiscent of the current Sticky Burr books, these clever, entertaining stories featuring simple, charming art and a low-key message of community will prove a guilt-free recommendation for kids seeking lighthearted adventure. Just the same, you’ll want to brace for the onslaught of marketing that will no doubt pave the way for the upcoming film. Grades 1-4. --Jesse Karp
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About the Author
PIERRE CULLIFORD, born in Belgium in 1928, was the cartoonist known as Peyo. Peyo began his career working with some of Belgium’s most talented cartoonists, including his lifelong writing partner Yvan Delporte. In 1958, The Smurfs made their first appearance and went on to become the world-famous characters we know and love today.
Considered a legend in the comics world, YVAN DELPORTE was a writer often credited with helping to usher in the “Golden Age” of Franco-Belgian comics. Best known for his work on THE SMURFS, Delporte also served as editor-in-chief for the comics magazine “Spirou,” helping to create the memorable comics character “Gaston Lagaffe.”