By Robert Goodin (Fantagraphics Books)
The power of strip and picture books is that they can jump right through your eyes, bombarding but bypassing your brain and lodging straight into your heart. If you don’t believe me just read Sock Monkey: Into the Deep Woods, A Wish For Wings That Work, Usagi Yojimbo, The Moomins and the Great Flood, Bone, Copper, The Squickerwonkers, Pogo or The Velveteen Rabbit.
In fact, read them anyway.
Now you can add to that list this splendidly eerie, all-ages cartoon tale from illustrator and animator Rob Goodin (Duckman, The Wild Thornberries, American Dad!) which combines – in the best tradition of the genre – crippling loneliness, astounding wonder and the finding of a new family, all delivered in a gloriously illustrated, magnificently oversized (305 x 222 mm) full-colour hardback tome that will take your breath away.
When little Ellie starts acting up again, poor Sally Bear gets flung out the car window on a cold, rainy night and left in the wilds to rot.
The trenchant little toy is made of far sterner stuff, however, and picking herself up, gamely wanders the terrifying great outdoors, narrowly avoiding doom and destruction from assorted beasts and natural hazards.
Battered and bedraggled, Sally eventually finds her way deep into a swamp where a bizarre conurbation exists. More accurately, one of the denizens of Kurdleton finds her, dragging the bear back to a band of little weirdoes who extend jolly hands of friendship the damaged bear is too proud and standoffish to accept with any grace at all…
Claiming all she needs are directions back to the road, Sally is nevertheless soon embroiled in the jovial strangers’ ongoing crisis: their magnificent dwelling has contracted a strange malady and is growing hair and eyes…
Soon a case of Casa Pilosa – an infamous “Disease of the American Home” – is diagnosed. The house is coming alive…
That’s all the plot you get, and you’ll thank me for that when you read for yourselves this fabulously moving, suspensefully thrilling and wryly funny fractured fable of outcasts banding together into a potently different modern family.
Bold, beguiling and beautiful, The Kurdles is the kind of book you will remember forever.
The Kurdles © 2015 Robert Goodin. This edition © 2015 Fantagraphics Books, Inc.