on May 31, 2008
There's something very weird about "Johnny Boo."
No, it isn't the brand of oddness that assaults the senses, or leads to bad dreams. It's more the sort of uniqueness that leads minds into unexpected places, the eyes to see clear yet not-quite-familiar images and circumstances. "Johnny Boo" resembles a favorite children's book from your own childhood... and yet, manages to classify itself into its own little niche genre. It's a children's book, without all that dull narrative prose tucked away on the page. And it's also a children's comic, wherein the characters don't quite know that they're being read by anyone (adding to the sense of the unknown, i.e. the characters aren't "performing" for the audience).
In short, "Johnny Boo" is the book children of this generation will read a few times, put aside for many years, and have such clear memories of it that they'll hunt it down again when they reach adulthood. "Johnny Boo" is the book that people will be posting Internet queries about in the future: "When I was a kid, I remember reading this really weird book about ghosts and ice cream monsters... Does anyone else remember what I'm talking about?"
Sure, it follows some children's literary conventions - the concept of adventure, treasure, strange new creatures, and the ability to use one's special talents to succeed in the world. But in recent days, there hasn't been any book that makes the conventional so... so downright nutty and unique!
And the best part about it is that "Johnny Boo" allows kids to indulge in James Kochalka's (typically grown-up themed) visions.
on March 16, 2012
I has been a long time since both my 8-year-old and I shared a good laugh over a book. We just loved it all. And the story isn't scary or mean at all. Just fantastic fun. We had borrowed it from the library, but i think i will buy all the Johnny Boos. Just realized the same artist did Owly, which was also sweet.