Animator Boedoe debuts with a didactic tale of the opinionated Arrow people, who respond fearfully when a Target family visits their town. The social commentary unspools in metered rhyme à la Dr. Seuss, explaining that "Every pointed person had a pointed point of view,/ and every point in Arrowville was always just askew." Also like Seuss, Boedoe introduces a young nonconformist who defies Arrowvillian attitudes. Barb, a Gerald McBoing Boing type, refuses to participate in a school debate: "The quarrel contest started—the time was five to three—/ but ended most abruptly when Barb said, 'I agree.' " Barb's amiability, contrarian in its own way, meets with disapproval ("You must rebuke, refute, retort," says her father, the mayor), so she runs away from home. Meanwhile, agitated newscasters report that strange visitors—Mr. and Mrs. Target, and little Bullseye—have been sighted in town.
Arrowville's residents quiver (apparently unaware of the customary arrow-to-dartboard relationship) but Barb predictably befriends the Targets and thus promotes diversity. Boedoe studs Arrowville with spear-tips and sharp corners, and his prickly people have downward-pointed frowns; his images suggest black grease-pencil sketches on opaque backgrounds of turquoise, ochre and lavender. Yet the preachy rhymes are only superficially Seussian and, whether or not the author/artist intends the allusion to a certain retail giant, his uniform red-and-white Targets look all too familiar. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)
Release date: 10/01/2004