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Sketchy Lives

5 Oct

I recently read two sketchy books. Sketchy not for content, but for the style of the illustrations.

The first is Jane, the fox and me written by Fanny Britt and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.

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The target audience of this book seems to be middle/high school aged girls. Not the traditional demographic of graphic novels.

Helene is the victim of bullies at her school so she dreads an upcoming  school camping trip. The popular girls, who used to be her friends,  tease her about her weight and her lack of friends so Helene’s world is pretty grim and her self-esteem is very low. Helene’s world is illustrated in black and white.

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She begins to believe all of the awful lies the girls spread about her and only takes solace in the book Jane Eyre as she identifies with the main character. Jane’s story is told in full color.

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Going off to camp with her classmates ends up being a transformative experience in which Helene encounters a fox and finally gains a best friend and her world becomes a bit brighter.

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I’m not a huge fan of Shaun Tan, but I really enjoyed learning about his thought process in The Bird King: an artist’s notebook. 

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The book is divided into three sections: untold stories

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book, theater, and film

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drawings from life

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and notebooks.

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These are two really worthwhile books to take a look at.

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