Friday, January 24, 2014

Bandette: Presto! by Paul Tobin, art by Colleen Coover

Bandette is the greatest thief in France.  She's also a teenager.  Other criminals despise her, and Police Inspector Belgique can't stand her, but will still call on her for help.  When a rival thief warns Bandette about a dangerous criminal group determined to get rid of her, Bandette laughs it off.  But will she be able to survive the evil Finis?

Bandette is kind of a Robin Hood figure, but not quite as selfless.  Yes, she does rob bad guys and resteal stolen items, but she's also totally OK with snatching things she likes and keeping them for herself.  She helps the police when it suits her.  She has a band of "street urchins" she calls on for help.  It is unclear if any of them actually live on the street.  I don't think so.  I think it's just a pet name.

I didn't love.  It was cute and all.  Fast paced.  I thought the level the book was written at was a little odd.  I had thought this was a middle grade book.  It had that appearance, and the language was fairly simplistic, as was the story.  But then we had pictures of people in their underwear in sexual situations and some profanity which took it out of the middle grade range and put it into YA.  I just wasn't grabbed by the story in any way, or cared very much about any of the characters.

Bandette is very caviler about the danger to her, which is fine, I guess, but she also seems totally fine with putting all her friends in danger as well!  Less cool.  We really didn't learn anything about Bandette.  We just know she's a flirty thief.  I guess I didn't really care very much about her or worry that she might possible in danger because she clearly didn't care, and I didn't have anything to care about.

Not sure who I would recommend this too.  It really does seem too young for YA, but not quite middle grade either.

I liked the art, it was cute, but again, it just had a middle school look to it.  It reminded me a bit of Raina Telgemeier, if Raina Telgemeier drew an action comic.

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