Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jellaby by Kean Soo

Portia doesn't have many friends.  Or any friends.  She may be a little odd.  Portia is lonely though, and one night, she walks outside and finds a monster.  A friendly one, and he doesn't seem to be from around there.  Portia, with the assistance of possible new friend Jason, decide to take new named monster Jellaby home.  Which involves a couple of elementary school kids getting to Toronto on their own and with a monster.  Good thing it's almost Halloween.

There's a bit of mystery going on about where Portia's dad is. She has nightmares about it, and it isn't clear what happened, or if Portia's dad is still alive.  I'll be interested to see how that all comes together.  I thought the character of Jason was great.  He was much more defined then Portia was.  With just a few sentences about carrots and the desire to give Jellaby a cooler and tougher name, we can see a dorky loner kid who longs for danger and adventure.  Portia is less clear.  She's clearly very lonely, and a bit odd, but we don't know why she's like that.  I will definitely read the next one, I want to see where it goes.

At first I found the art off putting, and I couldn't figure out how old the characters were suppose to be.  Everyone's face looks like an adult, no matter how old they are.  So even though she was small, I thought Portia was a lot older.  I hadn't realized how young she was (elementary school) until the scene where she tries to play with two other kids and she's holding her pony.  And that was a good ways into the book.  Once I was situated with the characters, and I liked it more. I like Jellaby was drawn a lot, with the big eyes that make he/she seem sweet despite the pointy teeth.  I think Jellaby is just a baby too, and is as lost and alone as Portia is.

There is little color in the book, almost everything is purple and white, with black outlining.  When Portia has bad dreams, the black is much more prominent.  There are many wordless panels, which worked well despite the lack of detail in the art.

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