From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up—The Far Side
was one of the greatest comic strips in recent history. Gary Larson's offbeat humor, with its anthropomorphic bugs and lumpy human beings, has influenced countless similar strips, like Rubes, Close to Home
, and a host of others. Tundra
is another one of those imitators, though Carpenter's art comes a little too close to being more copycat than imitator in this collection of single-panel comic strips. Carpenter lives in Alaska, so there is a bias toward subjects like snowmen, hunters, and moose. It's not that it's not funny—there are some decidedly clever moments, like the witch in the grocery store with a cart full of sugar and gingerbread mix who says she's "building an addition" or the cannibals who are excited to get feet in their stockings for Christmas. But besides rarely straying from typically Larsonesque themes (despite the geographically specific characters), the collection suffers from lax editing. There are a number of jokes that appear in barely altered permutations throughout—in one case, two jokes about the origins of chiropractic medicine occur within a mere four pages of one another. Also, the snowman-with-a-melted-face gag is seriously overused, and the book is about 100 pages too long. All that said, as a supplemental title in a larger collection, this book will find its fans.—Jason M. Poole, Webster Public Library, NY
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About the Author
launched in 1991 and was inspired by the cartoonist's upbringing in Alaska. Carpenter, who still makes his home in Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage, manages to find fresh sources of laughter every day from his frigid and familiar surroundings.