cover image Petro and the Flea King

Petro and the Flea King

Kenneth Kit Lamug. Rabblebox, $9.99 (164p) ISBN 978-1-71737-923-8

Lamug’s predominantly wordless graphic novel is based on a traditional Philippine folktale called “Juan Tamad at ang Pulgas.” In lively vignettes, Lamug introduces the titular Petro—a small boy with a rounded face and raven-colored hair, whose fondness for video games earns him the moniker “Petro the Lazy Boy.” When Petro breaks a pot, his grandmother sends him to town to obtain a new one. There, he learns that his village—populated with Seussian tufted trees and anthropomorphic animals—has come under attack by the dastardly Flea King and his flea cronies. Petro sets out to find a solution to the infestation. He consults with Albularyo the Witch Doctor (a frog character whose unusual solution to the flea problem leads to a psychedelic sequence of events), is swallowed by a whale, befriends a wind-up robot, and is imprisoned by a horned tree giant, among other adventures. Readers who aren’t familiar with the folktale may not always understand exactly what is unfolding in the plucky, chimerical scenes, but it doesn’t matter: Lamug’s black-and-white artwork is accessible, expressive, and full of wit, and the visual storytelling promises new discoveries to be made upon subsequent readings. All ages. [em](BookLife) [/em]