By Nick Park, illustrated by Bill Kerwin (Egmont)
Here’s another superb cartoon adaptation of the world’s most animated British heroes. Hard though it is to believe, Wigan’s Finest have been delighting us for over twenty years and this delightful commemorative edition celebrates the fact, adding major mirth and mild menace to the malleable mix in a follow-up edition to last year’s science fiction fantasy Wallace & Gromit in A Grand Day Out.
In fact this magical comic strip adaptation is only coming full circle. Nick Park originally created the ingenious, quintessentially English cheese-loving duo as an art school graphic novel, before the lure of movement and sound diverted the concept into the world of animation and the olfactory, morphic joys of Plasticine.
Bill Kerwin’s moody watercolours aptly capture the pecuniary peril and muted menace of the dauntless duo as they struggle to make ends meet and poor Gromit is summarily ousted from his home to make room for a penguin lodger.
The felonious fowl then proceeds to steal Wallace’s filial affections and even appropriates the wonder dog’s birthday present from his cheese-loving master. What possible use could a penguin have for a pair of robotic techno-trousers?
Gromit must discover the reasons behind the actions of the ruthless, flightless sea-bird before Wallace is lost forever in this spellbinding rollercoaster romp, which perfectly captures the slapstick madness and utter glee of the original film. Lovingly rendered, perfectly timed, the skilful blend of low comedy and whimsy is every bit as effective on paper as on screen and this book is going to make a lot of kids – of all ages – deliriously happy.
Is it ever too soon to start recommending what to buy for Christmas? If not then consider this an essential “must have” – and don’t forget the first utterly excellent excursion A Grand Day Out while you’re about it and completists might also want to track down the 2004 Wallace & Gromit: The Whippet Vanishes. More Crackers, Gromit?!
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