Showing posts with label Federico Bertolucci. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Federico Bertolucci. Show all posts

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Little Tails in the Savannah by Frédéric Brrémaud, Federico Bertolucci


Rating: WORTHY!

Note that this is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

I'd been a fan of the Brrémaud/Bertolucci graphic novel series titled 'Love', a text-free set of stories about life in the wild. For me that series went downhill, the stories no longer interesting, and even the art suffering, so I gave up on it. I gave the first in the Little Tails (not Tales!) series a try and I thought this was much better. Aimed at young children, adventurous and educational, this is a colorful series for young children that's worth the reading time.

Chipper and Squizzo are two little animal characters who take trips in their cardboard box airplane (something young children can readily emulate with any old cardboard box you have lying around). This part of the story is line drawings with a splash of monochrome color; it's refreshingly simple and will probably appeal to young readers, especially when its contrasted against the gorgeous full color images of the various animals they encounter.

The animals featured are biased toward mammals, and largely situated on land (we humans are a very class conscious society aren't we, even when it comes down to biological classes!), but there is the occasional foray into non-mammalian characters. Unfortunately the snake is described as poisonous when it ought to be described as venomous (you can withstand eating a snake because it's not poisonous, but you definitely don't want to be bitten by a venomous one!). Outside of the mammals, we get one beetle, two different birds, and two different reptiles, and that's it! There's nothing about plant life at all. I'd like to see that change. Since it's an airplane they have, why not a book on birds? Or how about a cardboard submarine next time, so we get to visit some ocean life?

Overall, though, the series is engaging and attractive, so I recommend this as a worthy read for young children.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Love Vol 4 by Frédéric Brrémaud, Federico Bertolucci


Rating: WARTY!

Note that this was an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

I've been following this series from the start, but I think it's now time to part ways after two disappointing volumes in a row. After the first two volumes (The Tiger and The Fox, I found I didn't like the third one, The Lion. The problem for me is what seems to be a steady deterioration in the artwork, and a complete lack of growth in the series.

I didn't mind that the original was rather brutal in places, and I even let slide the fact that we were erroneously shown piranhas in Africa. I was happy with the second volume because it seemed to indicate that the authors were interested in varying their plots and telling real stories, but with the third volume, not only was the art poor compared with the first volume (where it was particularly good), the series also seemed to be taking a distinct turn toward the gory, and this doesn't interest me - especially given how much it betrays the series title! This trip down mastication lane not only continues, but is deliberately ramped-up with this fourth volume excursion into prehistory, featuring endlessly predatory dinosaurs, some of which probably would be unlikely to be found together in history, at least based on extant fossil finds.

This is an ongoing problem where predators are featured, particularly of the prehistoric variety. We see it in TV shows and movies all the time: the portrayal (and betrayal for that matter!) of predators as constantly hungry, and dedicated to unnaturally and persistently hunting prey which they normally either do not encounter, or simply don't bother within real life. Yes, a really hungry predator will go after pretty much anything that might make a meal, but most of the time, predators - even warm-blooded ones - are doing nothing!

They hunt only when they're hungry, and when the hunt is done, they're done, and they go back to their sedentary life until they're hungry again. Their usual prey wanders past them all the time when they're in this mode, and they really don't care. To depict the dinosaurs as constantly chasing down food is not only wrong, it's boring. I have to ask: do these two authors have no other story to tell than that of one animal ripping another apart? If that's the case, as it seems to be, then this series is of neither interest nor use to me. At any rate, I cannot recommend this volume. I wish the authors all the best in their career, but it's not one I shall be following anymore.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Little Tails in the Jungle by Frédéric Brrémaud, Federico Bertolucci


Rating: WORTHY!

Note that this was an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

Yes, you read that right - it's tails, not tales! I liked that! I've been largely a fan of the Brrémaud/Bertolucci graphic novel series titled 'Love', a text-free set of stories about life in the wild. I was disappointed with volume three, but I really liked the first two volumes. It makes me happy, therefore, to report another win for them with this volume aimed at educating children about life on various continents.

Chipper and Squizzo are two little animal characters who take trips in their cardboard box airplane (something young children can readily emulate with any old cardboard box you have lying around). This part of the story is line drawings with a splash of monochrome color; it's refreshingly simple and will probably appeal to young readers, especially when its contrasted against the gorgeous full color images of the various animals they encounter.

As usual with this kind of children's book, I'm sorry to report that the animals featured are biased toward mammals, and largely situated on land (we humans are a very class conscious society aren't we, even when it comes down to biological classes!), but I'm happy to report we don't see exclusively those things. There does appear the occasional gastropod, arachnid, and other classes such as fish, bird, and reptile are represented. They writers even get the piranhas situated on the right continent this time - something I complained about in my review of the first volume of Love! Here I'd argue that the 'parrot' Chipper and Squizzo saw was actually a macaw, but that's just me being picky!

But I'm not going to let that get in the way of praising this as a charming and educational book. There's a couple (I'd have liked more) of pages at the end that give some detailed information about some of the animals featured - again heavily biased toward mammals, but it's better than nothing. Overall I recommend this as a worthy read for children.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Love Volume 3: The Lion by Frédéric Brrémaud, Federico Bertolucci


Rating: WARTY!

(Note that this was an advance review copy)

I've been following this series since it began, and after the first two volumes (The Tiger and The Fox, I found I didn't like this third one. The art work was poor in comparison with the previous two volumes (although decent by your average run-of-the-mill comic books standards) and the story was nothing but one long run of violent and bloody encounters between lions and their prey, and between lions and other lions.

It was not interesting to me, and there really was very little respite from it, especially given that the art work offered nothign truly appealing to look forward to. This doesn't accurately even reflect the life of a lion, which is actually much more along the lines of lying around all day, day after day, and once in a while going on a hunt, and of course, once in a while mating and defending territory. It's really pretty boring, and why people think lions are majestic and kings of the jungle is a complete mystery to me.

On a technical note, I had a problem with this advance review copy on the iPad in Bluefire reader - it would not open at all and locked-up the app! I was able to open and read it on Adobe Digital Editions on my desktop computer. I think this had the potential to tell a really engaging story, but somewhere the lions lost the scent and meandered off. I can't recommend it.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Love Volume Two Fox by Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci


Rating: WORTHY!

This is another beautifully illustrated look at wild life. No text, just images. The first one I read was The Tiger. This one follows the one-eyed fox which put in merely a cameo appearance in the other volume.

The fox is out, as ever, slinking through the long grass under the shady trees, searching for the next meal, observed by the musk oxen, but too busy itself to pay attention to the beauty around it - beauty which is shortly to be violently ripped away. From here we're led beautifully from one scene - one species - to another, encompassing mammalian, avian, and piscean animals, including a scary encounter between a whale, its calf, and a pod of Orcas.

All seems normal, everyday, ordinary in this world until a nearby volcano erupts, and then the world turns nasty, brutish, and short. As predators and nature itself - the greatest predator of all - take down one animal after another, and the world which these animals inhabit turns almost literally upside down, the fox has one, and only one thing on its mind - and it's not taking down the rabbit warren. It's not even self-preservation. It's something far more important.

I Highly recommend this series because the art work is truly magnificent. The authors also includes a pictorial glossary of species at the end so you can identify everything you've seen if you didn't recognize it from the story itself.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Love, Volume 1: The Tiger by Federico Bertolucci


Title: Love, Volume 1: The Tiger
Author: Federico Bertolucci and Frederic Brremaud
Publisher: Magnetic Press
Rating: WORTHY!


DISCLOSURE: Unlike the majority of reviews in this blog, I've neither bought this book nor borrowed it from the library. This is a "galley" copy ebook, supplied by Net Galley. I'm not receiving (nor will I expect to receive or accept) remuneration for this review. The chance to read a new book is often enough reward aplenty!

I've often said that graphic novels need a story - otherwise they're just picture books, but in saying that, I don't necessarily mean that the story has to be in words. This is a classic example of one which has no words, but tells a very entertaining story in beautifully painted pictures.

Note that it's not a young children's book - hopefully the cover will convey that adequately! It's a day in the life of a tiger, after all; they're not known for their social work. Indeed, the tiger is not only the largest of the living big cats, but also the most dangerous to humans, having killed more of us than any other mammal.

They're no more friendly towards each other. In David Attenborough's remarkable TV documentary series, Life_Story, episode two ("Growing Up") features three adolescent tigers and disturbingly demonstrates how utterly brutal tigers can be. So, in short: beautiful, but deadly!

The novel is reminiscent, in some regards, of The Jungle Book and is evidently set in Asia, perhaps India, home to literally half the world's remaining four thousand or so threatened tigers. There's nowhere else that you can find the mix of creatures depicted here. There are no tigers in Africa - except perhaps for one mating pair which were released there some time ago according to a documentary I saw.

The one problem with this mix of critters though, was the piranha-infested river. There are no piranhas outside of South America (not in the wild anyway, thank goodness!), so I have no idea what the writers (artists?!) thought they were doing there. not that the piranhas actually did anything, save grin wickedly.

There is no over-arching plan here other than to show wildlife at its wildest, and some of the events are highly improbable, but not impossible, so I didn't let that bother me. Volume one focuses on the tiger. Volume 2, I understand, will follow the fox which we see briefly in the tiger's story.

The tiger stalks a tapir, encounters snakes, crocodiles, panthers, and others, and it eventually gets to, er, man-up and eat. I admit that I had to wonder why - if it was so hungry - it didn't eat at an earlier point when it had a perfect opportunity. I didn't think tigers were that picky!

Overall, very entertaining, very well done, and well worth "reading". I look forward to the next volume.