Week ending February 10, 2017
Prince, W. Maxwell (text) & John Amor & others (illus.). One Week in the Library. Image. Dec. 2016. 96p. ISBN 9781534300224. pap. $9.99. Rated: M. LITERARY FICTION
It’s a lonely job, but someone has to do it. The Librarian, as created here by author Prince (The Electric Sublime; Judas: The Last Days), is in charge of organizing and maintaining all of the world’s stories and characters in a magical library. He takes his job very seriously. Rather than simply being a source of information, the Librarian and the endless stacks that surround him serve as protectors of the written word. Prince boldly inserts himself into the plot to redirect the narrative’s meaning, instead focusing on authors as creators who display their imagination to the world to be pondered and critiqued. Prince also conceives of books as stories without end: with every read, the tale continues beyond the physical pages. Artist Amor (The Urban Animal) provides wonderful art that well complements the writing.
Verdict Owing to its experimental nature, this work is recommended for graphic novels fans who appreciate the complexities of the language; an optional item for casual readers. Note: Some of the language is inappropriate for teens.—Teresa Potter-Reyes, Helen Hall Lib., League City, TX
Roca, Paco. The Lighthouse. NBM. Feb. 2017. 64p. ISBN 9781681120560. $15.99. HISTORICAL FICTION
This beautiful tale from Spanish creator Roca (Wrinkles) centers on Francisco, a young Republican guard in the Spanish Civil War. Injured, frightened, and running, he stumbles upon Telmo, the old caretaker of a lighthouse. Telmo nurses Francisco back to health while regaling him with stories of his youth and his goal of sailing to an island that, according to legend, is paradise. Together, they work toward making that goal happen. Roca’s illustrations have clear lines and lend a sense of innocence to a time fraught with violence and angst. The story might be brief, but the relationship between Francisco and Telmo will stick with readers long after they finish the book. Themes of determination, imagination, and aspiration are prevalent throughout.
Verdict Anyone can pick up this volume and enjoy it slowly. Roca’s art shines brightest, pulling readers into his world, but it’s Francisco’s and Telmo’s friendship that will haunt them. For fans of Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, and other stories of friendships that inspire hope.—Ryan Claringbole, Wisconsin Dept. of Pub. Instruction, Madison