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Using large, full page panels and Dr. Seuss-ian rhyming for dialogue, Turtle Shoes is a quirky and ambitious undertaking by first time self publisher Greg Zadrozny. The story is a fairly simple one: a boy, seen entirely in silhouette, tells of being sold a pair of shoes, which literally are turtles. Neglecting to tie them properly, they run off and he goes in search of them. He comes across a mammoth fisherman with dozens of gulls and other sea creatures perching on his shoulders. He tells his tale of hydrophobia and unrequited love to the boy and sends him on his way. Undoubtedly, the greatest asset of this series, which intends to run the course of three graphic novels, is the art and design. Zadrozny’s work uses inks expressively and fills the pages wonderfully, even with the lack of backgrounds. Scenes with the massive frame of the fisherman teeming with seagulls are nicely comical and beautifully rendered, as are the expressions and weathered look on that fisherman’s face. Zadrozny is an illustrator and designer by trade and he uses those skills to a good effect. The story has its share of shortcomings, it might be too odd for a children’s audience and the quirkiness, slightly laconic pacing and lack of a linear storyline might test the patience of a wider group. For a first effort, he deserves the benefit of the doubt and it will certainly be interesting to see how the story unfolds over the course of the series. Certainly the art will continue to impress. (Matthew Daley)

92 B&W pgs

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