Thursday, February 08, 2007

Review: Mr. Big

Mr. Big
Mr. Big
by Carol & Matt Dembicki
Little Foot Publishing, $9.99

Life in the pond can be cruel. It is home to many creatures: fish, crayfish, frogs, insects, even crows. But it is ruled over by Mr. Big, a giant turtle, who is inscrutable in his actions as he randomly chooses smaller creatures to devour. Some of the swamps denizens have had enough: they want to get rid of Mr. Big to stop his senseless killing; others argue that Mr. Big is part of the swamp itself and should be left alone. A plot is hatched anyway; but as things start to be set in motion, a wildcard in the form of an invasive species arrives in the pond.

Mr. Big is an ecological parable, but not in a preachy manner. The Dembickis' story is produced in a realistic way. Although the animals' thought processes are anthropomorphized, they serve a dual purpose in both representing instinctual motivations and as a mirror to aspects of our own human society. The animals look like real animals, not cutesy cartoons, in art that reminds me of Michael Zulli's early Puma Blues work. There's also a great sense of place in Mr. Big, with art that makes it feel 'swampy.' Different border styles are used to differentiate between action that takes place underwater, on the surface, or in the air--a nice touch.

A true all-ages book, Mr. Big will appeal to anyone with an interest in nature.

Rating: 3.5 (of 5).

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