Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Tiny Tyrant & Sardine

Tiny Tyrant, by Lewis Trondheim and Fabrice Parme

Tiny Tyrant is series of short stories about King Ethelbert, the nasty little six-year-old king of Portocristo. Whether he’s trying to force Santa Claus to become his personal chef, calling for his own Ethelbertosaurus, or trying to cut to the front of the line for a signature from his favorite comic artist, this kid is one major handful. The art brings to mind the Fractured Fairy Tales cartoons that played alongside Bullwinkle (a personal favorite) and the retro animated style works perfectly for these stories. Ethelbert is the funniest spoiled rotten brat ever and I laughed through the whole book.

Sarah says: It’s about this dude named Ethelbert the something, and he’s really super bratty and he’s like a five-year-old. In the book he has a few supporting characters. They are a lady he calls Miss Prime Minister and he always gets what he wants and he thinks that nothing is impossible and she has to try to get him what he wants without letting him destroy the country. There’s Princess Hildegardina who is three times richer than him and says big words all the time like “disconsolate” and “philistine” and she tries to teach Ethelbert how to talk her way. Sigismund is his cousin and always fights with him. I would give it to my friends AND my grandparents!

Shelby says: I tried to read this book two times, but I only got to do it once all the way through because my mom took it away from me so she could read it. I would like to read it again because it is very funny and the stories are creative and the art is cool! It’s about a six-year-old dictator who is the king of Portocristo, an imaginary country. He thinks that he’s the best ruler in the world and he wants to be richer than his cousin, Sigismund. Actually, he’s pretty bad. He doesn’t pay attention to his tutor, and when the chef makes an ice cream sundae about as big as a couch, Ethelbert only takes a spoonful and says, “Small helpings are for wimps.” The adults treat him like he’s the neediest person in the entire city by getting him everything he wants and he threatens them if they don’t give him what he wants. I can’t pick which story is my favorite, so I’ll say all of them! This is a book for kids about six years old to adult.

Ethelbert is definitely an anti-role model, and there is some violence (lots of bombs explode, but no one gets hurt), so very conservative parents might not want to share it with very young readers (or little boys who might try to become Ethelbert). Honestly, I think Tiny Tyrant is what all-ages entertainment is all about – grandparents and grandkids could truly enjoy this book together.

Read a preview here.

Sardine in Outer Space by Emmanuel Guibert and Joann Sfar

I’m going to go ahead and call this a “kids’ comic” instead of all-ages because it really is squarely aimed at younger readers. There are plenty of jokes about bodily functions and a whole bunch of rambunctious pirate kids who, guided by Uncle Yellow Shoulder, repeatedly defeat the evil Supermuscleman. I imagine this is probably the European version of Captain Underpants – it’s goofy and silly and all kinds of fun.

Sarah says: I like all three books of Sardine in Outer Space because they are about kids that do bad things and don’t get punished for it – they get rewarded! They fight the evil Supermuscleman and his assistant, Doc Krok, who is a mad scientist. All the characters have something in common…they are all space pirates. I mostly remember two stories. One is about a flea circus that Uncle Yellow Shoulder and the kids save from a giant. The other one is the one about the Cha-Cha flies. It’s about these flies that sting people and that makes the people sing annoying cha-cha songs. The flies lure the people into their trap with their poo that tastes like chocolate. Anybody that is a geek for pirates or space and maybe boxing will like these books, as long as they’re old enough to know that they shouldn’t talk about poo and pee in public.


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