cover image Abelard


Renaud Dillies and Regis Hauti%C3%A8re. NBM (, $22.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1561637010

At first glance, Dillies (Bubbles & Gondola) and Hauti%C3%A8re's story of a na%C3%AFve chick's impromptu voyage to America may seem like a lighthearted jaunt, but as the titular young bird finds out, things are not always as rosy as they seem. After a chance meeting with a pretty girl, a smitten Abelard departs his bucolic home and heads for America in order to board a rumored flying machine so he can "give her the moon" and prove his love. But a dire fate awaits poor Abelard, whose ignorance of the world's evils leads him into a series of troubling confrontations, followed by a rescue by Gaston, a gruff bear who begrudgingly allows Abelard to tag along on his trip across the Atlantic. Along the way Abelard never loses his sense of optimism, and the world remains an awe-inspiring and whimsical place%E2%80%94awash in Dillies's lush colors and nuanced sensitivity to mood%E2%80%94despite the misfortunes that befall him. What eventually reveals itself amid the cute animals and dry humor is a poignant tale echoing the plight of early European immigrants, who abandoned everything they knew in search of a better life and nurtured hope even in the worst of situations. (Nov.)