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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

A Tyrant to Treasure

Tiny Tyrant Vol 1Reading my way in delight through the First : Second graphic novels has been a treat. I love a good mystery, adventure, thriller, romance, rib-tickler … and I’ve found all this and more in graphic novel form with this imprint.

First up, the rib-tickler. That would come in the form of pint-sized, imperious monarch, Ethelbert (in English) or Adalbert (in French), the star of Tiny Tyrant, volumes 1 and 2. I don’t ordinarily laugh out loud while I’m reading, but this Ethelbert is spoiled, yes, outrageous, oui, but he frequently gets his comeuppance and the sly, droll wit of the supporting cast is incredible.

Each volume contains six short stories. In volume two, A Lucky Winner, the chef in “A Surprise Visit” is harassed by this fussy boy-king who demands a twenty-times-his-size banana split … and takes one bite. The chef gently chides Ethelbert for being wasteful and the king dismisses his remonstrance. The chef, however, gets even in a most fitting way.

Tiny Tyrant Vol 2Ethelbert passes a new law whenever he wants his own way (haven’t you wished for that power?) and tests his minions in unfair competition. He vies for the hand of Princess Hildegardina with his cousin Sigismund and regularly tries the patience of the citizens of Portocristo. What will he think up next?

Students will find the illustrations by Fabrice Parme to be intricate, full of detail … and just right for inspiring their own cartooning. Facial expressions, composition, focal points … each frame is a miniature painting. And the lettering is particularly clean and easy to read. These volumes will motivate some of your reluctant readers because they’re so funny and visually appealing.

The Ethelbertosaurus

A frame from "The Ethelbertosaurus" shows the intricate detail of the inventive contraptions

Published in France as Le Roi Catastrophe, the author’s pseudonym is Lewis Trondheim (in real life, Laurent Chabosy). From Wikipedia, “In 2006, Trondheim was awarded the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, arguably the most prestigious award in the field.” Trondheim has authored numerous comics, a good number of which have become television cartoons. The episodic nature of Tiny Tyrant would fit the medium well, but as yet his zany adventures have not been televised. Take a look at his website, which says that M. Parme and M. Trondheim are working on volume 3.

You can preview the two Tiny Tyrant volumes in Google Book.

Look for more recommendations soon about graphic novels from First : Second. I’m eager to share the treasures I’ve found.

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