Fantagraphics, 2015. 978-1606998328.
Synopsis: When Sally the Bear is thoughtlessly thrown out of a car window onto a country road, all she wants to do is find her way home. But when she encounters a group of strange creatures from a town that has suddenly grown hair and threatened to walk away, she discovers that they need her help just as much as she needs theirs.
Why I picked it up: I was emailed by the author and asked if I would review the book, and since I love graphic novels and the title intrigued me, I jumped at the offer.
Why I finished it: Even though I was given a synopsis of the book before I even picked it up, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Books about talking animals don’t usually grab my interest because they tend to get somewhat trite after a while. As a reader, I want to feel like something about this group is different and likable than every other oddball assortment of characters that are like it. Goodin’s credentials as an animator for some of my favorite shows growing up (As Told by Ginger and The Wild Thornberrys, among others (I just dated myself, like, wow….)) certainly comes across in the plot and the character design. I loved that he has Sally as a traditional stuffed animal and used her as a sort of grounding point for Pentapus (a Pentapus), Phineas (a scarecrow), and Hank (a creature with the head of a unicorn and the body of a man). Both the story and the world are imaginative and engaging, taking the reader on a trip into the woods to a modern wonderland occupied by a group of somewhat unorthodox misfits. I liked that the characters aren’t instantly endeared to each other, that there’s an element of uneasiness to Sally’s helping the Kurdles in exchange for taking her back to the road. But we like the characters and the fact that they’re more than a little quirky and well, human. It shows that we’re not alone being scared or weirded out or anxious or unsure. Goodin’s aim to create something that will engage kids over and over has been achieved, providing the reader with a story full of small details that it almost demands multiple readings. It’ a twist on the lost thing looking for home story that is sure to enchant readers of all ages.
Other related materials: Owly books by Any Runton; Zita the Spacegirl series by Ben Hatke; Bone books by Jeff Smith; Babymouse series by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; Missile Mouse books by Jake Parker; Robot Dreams by Sara Varon; Bake Sale by Sara Varon; Cleopatra in Space books by Mike Maihack; Hildafolk books by Luke Pearson; Nnewts books Doug TenNapel; Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel; Galactic Hot Dogs books by Max Brallier and Rachel Maguire