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The Little Endless Storybook (The Sandman) Hardcover – March 1, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up–Delirium, the youngest of the Endless family, and her brothers and sisters are encountered as adults in Neil Gaiman's graphic novel series The Sandman (DC Comics). Thompson, Gaiman's collaborator, has created a world of the Endless as children. In this story, Delirium's small dog is in charge of keeping her safe, because she is easily distracted. When he goes off into the woods to see a man about a tree, she goes off in search of him. When he returns he cannot find her so he visits each of her siblings, including Destiny and Death (two major characters in Sandman), to try to find her. Each one gives him a charm (a symbol of their adult character), but it is not clear how they will help him. It is difficult to determine the intended audience, although the book itself indicates it is meant for mature audiences. The writing is uneven, and the humor is very adult, but the plot is simple and too predictable for older readers. Not a true graphic novel, but an illustrated story, the full-page manga-style art seems aimed at younger children. Sandman fans are the most likely audience, and they are sure to find these illustrations disappointing and substandard.–Ronnie Gordon, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Incredibly enedearing art makes this picture book a page-turner. Barnabas the Dog accidentally loses track of little Delirium when he excuses himself to take care of some puppy business. His search for her leads him to the realms of her siblings, who award him with vague advice and a charm from each of them. Thompson's Little Endless conception made just one appearance in Neil Gaiman's original run of Sandman but was, nevertheless, a fan favorite. If this story is short and faithful to children's-book conventions (e.g., art and text appear on facing pages), the art is fabulous--cute but not without the edge that one expects from the Sandman line. The story is funny and appealing in itself, yet it incorporates enough insider jokes to gratify Sandman fans. A few pages at the end of the book are dedicated to explaining how the stories came about and relaying a few tidbits about the Little Endless dolls and figures. Tina Coleman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
The book tells the story of Barnabas, a little dog who is charged with the care of Delirium, lest she wander off. (This apparently is a common occurrence.) Sure enough, she disappears one day, and Barnabas goes off to find her, asking each of her siblings in turn if they have seen her. The book reaches a charming and satisfying conclusion, although you know poor Barnabas will always have his work cut out for him.
The "Little Endless," as these versions of the characters are known, are apparently in high demand by fans of the author's artwork, and I can see why. The book is well-written and superbly illustrated. Jill Thompson has managed to stay true to the feeling of the world of the Sandman comics, but at the same time produce a warm, cute fairy tale. I might hesitate to recommend this book to small children - there is just enough of the Sandman darkness here to elicit some uncomfortable questions from very young readers - but mature kids of perhaps 10 or older will do just fine. As for older readers, fans of the Sandman comics, manga, graphic novels, and fantasy in general will not be disappointed.
But have you ever imagined what they would look like as chibi figures?
Me neither. But apparently Jill Thomas has, which resulted in charmingly oddball picture books aimed at children, starring teeny pumpkin-headed versions of the Endless we know and love (or, in some cases, hate). Obviously "The Little Endless Storybook" is a light marshmallow puff compared to Gaiman's darker, more mature stories, but it's still very cute.
The story focuses on Barnabas, a little dog who takes care of the flighty, flaky Delirium in her psychedelic realm. But when he leaves her alone for a few minutes, Delirium vanishes -- and Barnabas is unable to find his charge. Even worse, a mysterious Thing is following him wherever he goes.
So he decides to ask Delirium's various siblings if they know where she is, and finds himself on a quest through the various realms of the Endless -- the weird world of Dream, the squishy red domain of Desire, the grey mirrored realm of Despair, the hilltop of Destruction, the mazed garden of Destiny, and Death's very pink living room. Will he find his acid-haired charge? And why do the Endless keep giving him charms?
One thing that does confuse me a little is who "The Little Endless Storybook" is aimed at. Jill Thompson's art and writing are clearly aimed at children... but those children will probably not have read the Sandman books or heard of the Endless before.
Quibbles aside, Thompson's story is really quite charming -- her artwork is bright and colorful, depicting the Endless as little punkin-headed chibis with big eyes and little stumpy limbs. Each one is easily identifiable (Desire looks like a polished K.D. Lang, Death wears a giant ankh and has spiky black hair, Dream has smudges for eyes and a giant black robe), and she manages to include them all in Barnabas' quest.
Barnabas is a rather cute dog character, with the usual preoccupations that a dog has (including keeping an eye on Delirium). And Thompson weaves together his quest with the Thing following him in a clever and logical manner, especially when his quest is finally over.
"The Little Endless Storybook" is a charming kids' story, full of bright glimpses of the Endless chibis and their wildly different realms. A fun item for little kids and Sandman collectors.
sorbet - a palate cleanser between courses,
one might say.
I wouldn't read it to my son as a bedtime story -
well, not just yet. Why does the naked fat woman
have rats in her hair? Hmmmm. . . . good question.
The characters are mostly in character, and the artwork
is a constant delight. Destruction is just a hoot!
I'm still a little Morpheocentric in my approach to
Endless stories, and this is an ensemble piece - so
if I can enjoy it, well. If you're a Deliriophile,
this will rock your candy-colored inside-out boat made
of popsickle sticks and that funny feeling you get inside
your head when you can't remember the name of the color
you think of when you taste the same kind of fruit soda
you were drinking on the sidewalk the day you. . .
ummmm, where was I was I again?
Get it, read it, share it, love it. Spoiler -
it has a happy ending.