Lio: There’s a Monster in My Socks

Mark Tatulli. Andrews McMeel, $9.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-4494-2304-9
Lio is a remarkable boy who hangs out with aliens, makes his own robots, and loves the morbid and warped side of life. This book is not a single story, but a collection of short comic strips, and while it’s technically aimed for middle-grade readers, some of its dark sense of humor and twisted jokes might go over better with adults than kids. Literal-minded readers might not get all the supernatural angles and ironic, unrealistic stories, but kids can appreciate the school-age humor and that Lio is so much smarter than the grownups around him—even if the grownups don’t realize it. Very few words are spoken, or needed, in the more than 200 pages, with nearly everything is conveyed excellently through art. Tatulli has a knack for the unexpected, the surreal, and the weird, and he plays these for all they’re worth: Lio sells shrunken heads instead of lemonade, he travels through time, he meets monsters; put together it makes for a very engaging character. There are some similarities between this strip and Calvin and Hobbes, but Tatulli’s stories are much more outrageous. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2012
Release date: 10/02/2012
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