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This delightful graphic journey appeals to all ages. My seven-year-old daughter kept sneaking peeks over my shoulder and sweet-talked me into staying up late so she could practice her reading skills on Spiral-Bound’s pages. Renier’s characters are animals of all species, from land and water, living together in a community. Like all communities this one is multi-generational, with history, politics, art and music as driving forces. The main characters are a smattering of youth exploring art in all its forms. And, of course, the visionary adult who supports their fight against the status quo, bringing the community to conflict with children challenging parents and art challenging conservative beliefs. All this great strife and fun is acted out by Turnip the coming-of-age elephant, Stucky the sculptor-hound, Viola the musician-mouse and Ana the underground-writer, among many loveable others. The characters are sweetly positive, and youthfully deep. They move through Renier’s world passing swamps restricted due to monsters, Tuffy’s bar, Monkey Wrench Bicycles and imaginative housing. Renier is a skilled illustrator and storyteller and his imagination bursts over the pages. A narwhal sculpting-teacher lives in a small aquarium ball that can be powered around town. Summer sculpting camps are offered to animal kids. An underground newspaper run by youth and adults who together travel in secret tunnels throughout the town to gather stories. I recommend this marvelous graphic novel for one of those days that you need to believe in good and want to be swept away by creativity. (heze douglas)

by Aaron Renier, $14.95, 178 pgs, Top Shelf Productions, PO Box 1282, Marietta, GA 30061-1282, USA. topshelfcomix.com


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