Adults, teens, children; very, very mild horrific elements
This "picture book comic" adapts the famous children's
classical music piece. Young Peter lives in a house surrounded
by a fence at the edge of "an immense forest as vast as
the sea." His grandfather warns him not to go far from home,
"and especially don't ever go done the road" that leads
into the forest, for "a ravenous wolf, as big as a hurricane,
prowls in there." But of course Grandfather's words of wisdom
fall upon deaf ears. Peter goes just a little way into the forest,
where he meets a bird and a duck who reiterate Grandfather's
advice. As the duck and bird argue, a cat tries to eat the bird
but misses. The bird's resultant clamor attracts Grandfather,
who snarls at Peter from behind the fence, then walks off. Peter
brushes off the old man's words as exaggerated. He hasn't seen
However, the wolf is right behind him, and while the bird,
cat, and Peter flee, the duck is snapped up in a single gulp.
Peter determines to lay a trap for the wolf. With the help of
the bird and some rope, the wolf is caught by the tail. Two hunters
who had been tracking the beast shoot the wolf dead. Peter and
Grandfather are saddened by the death of the magnificent creature,
but when the body is paraded through the village, Peter's sadness
changes to pride.
The book also includes a lengthy biography of Prado on the
jacket and a short foreword by Prado, as well as a couple of
full-page pictures, one standing behind Peter and the bird, cat,
and duck looking into the forest, and one from the forest looking
directly at the quartet.
This is a lovely book by an important European comics artist
with 13 titles to his credit as well as the designs for the characters
in the animated Men in Black series. The text is, of course,
secondary to the fully painted art, which is soft and dark and
uses light very well indeed. Dark greens and browns predominate,
so that other colors--Peter's red shirt, the bird's red breast,
the white-and-orange duck--really stand out. And note how the
sky lightens at the end of the book, during the triumphant parade
through the village--all of a sudden, the heavy threat of the
wolf is gone, and the colors lighten as a result. (However, there
is real sadness at the wolf's death, so make of the lighter colors
what you will.) After this gorgeous creation, it's even harder
to stomach the vastly inferior Power
of Shazam!, which, though fully painted, is about as
imaginative as a cliche.
The one gripe I have about this book is that it's a luxury
item: 22 pages for $15.95 is a tad scanty, even for such beautiful
art and a hardcover format. My guess is that others have felt
the same way, as I got this book for half price at Media Play.
It's a shame; it deserves a wide audience. It would be great
fun for people, especially kids, to page through as they listened
to Prokofiev's music. Recommended for kids especially.