CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 8 . . . . October 24, 2014
In this mainly wordless comic book, John Martz presents four imaginative comic sequences showcasing adventurous critters: Doug (duck) and Mouse, Tim (cat), Connie (rabbit), and Mr. & Mrs. Hamhock (pigs). Martz offers readers four visual narratives to feast upon. The stories are playfully presented using vibrant hues, cartoonish animal characters, and the illustrations showcase the colourful critters engaging in everyday activities, learning hobbies, exploring their surroundings, and whimsically discovering the world around them.
Each page of this comic book, each episode, presents an opportunity for the reader to engage in a unique narrative as he or she explores the lively adventures of each character. Martz's illustrations artfully flow from page to page, taking an idea from one page and expanding it to embody the essence of the subsequent page. In the first comic sequence of Doug and Mouse, the two characters figure skate, ski, ride a rollercoaster, unicycle, surf, and swing through the jungle. The final panel of the duo's action-packed activity page showcases the two friends sitting in a boat on a body of water. As the reader turns the page, the boat panel scene on the previous page is expanded to exhibit a panorama of the two critters rowing down the river. The pages and panels of Martz's comic book continue to flow into one another, offering the reader the opportunity to make connections and imaginatively explore the wordless comic scenes and overarching narrative.
Readers will enjoy seeing Tim take on different occupational roles, transform into Connie, and discover an underground passageway to a pizza party! Readers will also delight in the fact that their favourite critters make appearances in each other's comic sequences. A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories provides readers with infinite opportunities for storytelling and having fun with mainly wordless narrative. Martz's book invites young readers to join a charming, imaginative, and visually engaging world that will inspire them to think of imaginable epilogues to each comic sequence.
I would highly recommend A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories for school and public library collections.
Natalie Schembri is a graduate student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.
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