Monday, April 2, 2007

Polly and the Pirates

Polly and the Pirates by Ted Naifeh (Oni Press)

Polly is a proper young lady at Mistress Lovejoy‘s boarding school in the town of St. Helvetia – a wonderful place where the buildings look like sailing ships and turn of the century Victorian buildings float on the water. When prissy Polly is kidnapped by pirates, she has much more than saving her own skin to worry about. How will she protect her precious reputation? And who is she, really?

Polly is a good read, and a lot of fun, but I guess my expectations were a little high. The Courtney Crumrin series, also written and drawn by Ted Naifeh, is one of my all-time favorite reads, and the art is unbelievably gorgeous. It’s a bit dark for my girls yet (Ol’ Rawhead and Bloodybones scared the bejeebers out of me), but I’m looking forward to the day that I can pass my Courtney Crumrin books on to them. I’m not really disappointed in Polly and the Pirates, but for me it doesn’t live up to the Courtney Crumrin standard. I think the difference, and this is a matter of personal taste, is that on Courtney Ted did such incredibly intricate black on white line work, while on Polly he used gray washes and it just doesn’t have the same depth. It took me a couple of issues to warm up to Polly, but in the end, I really did enjoy it.

Polly and the Pirates isn’t really for little ones – there are veiled references to prostitution and pirate swearing (“soddin’ ‘ell!”), though most of it went right over my girls’ heads. Several of the characters have very thick accents and the girls had trouble understanding them until I read it out loud – it’s kind of fun to say, “Sho, ‘er yeh in league w’the Poirit King? Er are yer double-crosshin’ ‘im too?” While I wouldn’t call Polly an all ages book, it’s a great read for tweens and up, and definitely fun for adults.

Shelby says: I liked how the drawings were because they have lots of details. The faces in it are very good – Ted gives the characters good expressions. There’s good humor in it sometimes, like when Polly takes the mean girls’ bed and gets her in trouble. And I liked the Anastasia girl because her hair was cool looking with all the waves in it and her face was well-drawn. The ships were cool-looking because they were boats with houses on them and they looked like they were gonna topple over. I liked Polly but it wasn’t my favorite. Sometimes it was hard to understand because the accents were very weird. I would like it better if there wasn’t as much boring talk and more fighting and finding treasure.

Sarah says: My favorite part was when everyone was fighting on the ships. I liked the art of Polly because her legs were flat with no feet and it’s cool. My favorite character was Scrimshaw because he was a sweet pirate. The ending was really cute and it made me say, “awww.”


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