Good-Bye, Chunky Rice (4th Printing)

Craig Thompson, Author, Craig Thompson, Illustrator
Craig Thompson, Author, Craig Thompson, Illustrator Top Shelf Productions $14.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-891830-09-9
Paperback - 125 pages - 978-0-375-71476-4
Ebook - 978-0-307-48555-7
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The solemn little turtle Chunky Rice embarks on a journey from his seaport home, obeying an inner call he can't quite articulate. His mouse girlfriend, Dandel, encourages him. (""You're like a little flower that's outgrown its pot,"" she says, as they build their last sand castle.) But once Chunky leaves, Dandel spends her time collecting empty bottles and filling them with letters she hopes will reach him at sea. The themes of deep friendship and the pain of separation are amplified in the lives of other characters. Chunky's kindly neighbor Solomon befriends a wounded bird, seeking consolation for a childhood loss, while Solomon's estranged and gruff brother, Charles--on whose boat Chunky sails--long ago embraced the sea for companionship. There is little dialogue, but each panel of this comics novel--from the vast expanse of ocean that fills an entire page to the tiny closeup of Dandel's sleeping face--carries the emotional heft of the story forward. Thompson's b&w drawings exhibit a sturdy line and offer generous details, forcing the eye to linger on every page. The perspective zooms in and out, panels change size and overlap and Thompson uses so much black that his drawings often look like cut-paper silhouettes. His characters' irresistibly smooth, round shapes, meanwhile, add to the charm and humor of their expressions, by turns wistful, anxious and joyful. Thompson has crafted an enduring fable in words and pictures--an alternative-comics answer to Saint-Exup ry's Little Prince--that will charm anyone separated from a dear and loving friend. (Mar.)
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