Set in a future from which humanity has vanished, leaving only
legends behind, this text-and-graphic-novel hybrid takes a chatty
young chipmunk from the supposed safety of his hollow-tree home to
a derelict city ruled by a komodo dragon with "ratmink" minions,
and then on to an idyllic animal community perched atop a plateau
ringed by poisonous fog. Along the way he gathers a trio of
friends-most notably Olive, a mechanically minded bear whose flying
machine provides a hair's breadth escape from the Dragon Queen. The
illustrations, done in pen with light blue highlights, depict
Thelonious and associates walking erect, wearing looted human-or in
Thelonious's case-doll clothing and puzzling out the purposes of
the human artifacts around them. In every other chapter, the text
and pictures blend into full graphic-novel format, providing needed
boosts to the tale's generally slow pacing. That, along with
occasional quirky incidents such as the appearance of a mute (at
first) homunculus may be enough to draw in a few readers, but those
hoping for sustained drama, suspense or humor will be disappointed.
An abrupt end signals future episodes on the way; perhaps they'll
be better. (Fantasy. 10-12) (Kirkus Reviews)
"In ancient times human beings ruled the Earth -- at least that's
what the old legends claim. But is it true?"
Thelonious Chipmunk is a Talker -- an animal who has inherited
the gift of language -- and he, for one, believes in humans. Who
else could have made the old paper postcard he treasures? His
desire to know more about humans is fulfilled in a surprising and
dangerous way when Thelonious is swept down the river into a
strange new world -- a world where gangs and warlords prowl amongst
the crumbling remains of civilization.
With three new companions, -- a bear, a porcupine, and a lizard
-- Thelonious embarks on a search for the far-off Fog Mound. It is
a journey that becomes nothing less than a quest to uncover the
secrets of Earth's past.
Using alternate chapters of graphic novel and straight text,
Susan Schade and Jon Buller have combined their writing and
illustrating talents to create a book in which the form truly
reflects the excitement and adventure of the story. Young readers,
whether they have discovered graphic novels or not, will find this
book a visual and reading delight.
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