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Fox Bunny Funny Paperback – July 10, 2007
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
This wordless story has three distinct parts. First, a perhaps middle-school-aged, suburban fox-boy carefully pedals about town on his bike with a sack whose contents he keeps secret from neighbors' and parents' prying eyes. The punch-panel of this episode, in which the fox-boy dons a rabbit suit, surely refers to a young man's experimentation with cross-dressing. In the second episode, the fox-boy goes to the equivalent of Boy Scout camp, where he suffers from having to keep his identification with rabbits hidden from peers and counselors. When discovered, however, he turns on a rabbit and makes a species-correct meal choice. In the final part, the fox is now a young man trying hard to present his fox identity. When he discovers a city where foxes and rabbits amicably coexist, he faints, is whisked to a hospital, and undergoes an operation to conform his presenting biology to his inner rabbit. Deftly presented in crisp black-and-white, block-print-like panels, this is a must for libraries supporting LGBT collections. Goldsmith, Francisca
Top customer reviews
This is hardcore, down-and-dirty, mess-with-your-head weirdness.
And we can all thank Hartzell he took the effort to make it for us.
Andy's a talented guy; there's no escaping that. His earlier works, from the "Edna" series to his weighty "Monday," demonstrated his talent in both storytelling and pure art. His capability to lambaste the reader with emotion, using only line drawings, is remarkable.
And, like "Monday," "FBF" deals with weighty subjects...and doesn't use words.
Okay, for most writers, this would be a brutal undertaking-- punishment of the worst sort. "You want me to deal with WHAT? Without using any WORDS???"
But Hartzell can not only do it, he does it with a stark simplicity that probably conducts fear, horror, hatred, joy, and happiness better than prose can do...or has done.
FBF deals with The Other in a society; the easiest analogies are right there in front of you, barely hidden by the symbolism...but I think there are deeper, more universal feelings there, too. Can a character with a different agenda from those in a shared society, a character with an affinity for the taboo, subliminate its own needs for the sake of fitting in? And how far does that carry? And what else is there?
Hartzell goes at these questions with an ink pen that could be a metaphorical sledgehammer.
Let him hit you in the forehead. It's worth it.
This is a short silent allegorical graphic novel that deals with the subject of being different, feeling different, and not fitting in with your family or peer group. You were born with a gender but since your childhood felt that you are the opposite gender. You were born with a specific sexual orientation that is not "straight". You were born within a religious group that you struggle to fit in. You were born within a family of high-end professionals who wanted you to be like them, but you feel that you are a different sort of person. The examples could multiply to the infinite. Fox Bunny Funny depicts all of them masterly. In a way, this is a modern Aesop-sort-of fable, the lack of moral about who you are might be the moral of the story.
I love the cute drawing, which goes from the merely cute children cartoon style, to the not so childish childlike gory, to the trippy and almost psychedelic images at the end of the book. I love the overall humour of the author, and the imagination displayed in the conception of the world of rabbits, the world of foxes, and the mixed world. I found very inventive the shot guns that the foxes use, the church of the rabbits, the somewhat "depraved" and "subverted" mixed world at the end. There are many graphic elements that I considered inventive and humorous, and put a smile on my face.
The book is silent. However, the action and the expressiveness of the characters speak loudly. Being able to speaking to everybody without words is just something difficult to achieve. On the other hand, there is much more to silent books than the specific explicit message drawn by the author. Silent stories allow the individualisation of the reading, to make the story just yours, to adapt it to what you want the story to be and what what the story tells you, specifically to you. They are Universal, but also less of a monolith.
I found that the transition from the childhood part story to the adult part was too abrupt. I would have loved some transitional elements and I think the book needed a few more pages at the end and also in between.
This is one of those books that can be read by pre-teens, under supervision, as it tackles important issues about identity and society in a very light and easy way, and it could give way to great discussions in the classroom or at home. The book might be disturbing for very small kids unless they are showing an identity issue already.
A great graphic book.