Reading Level: Middle Grade
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy
Size: 160 pages
Release Date: February 1, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Rating: 4/5 stars
I picked this book up at half price books out of pure curiosity. It ended up being a cute and somewhat bizarre middle grade graphic novel and I enjoyed it.
Chickenhare (yes, he is half chicken and half hare) and Abe (a turtle with a strange beard) are sold to an evil taxidermist named Klaus. Klaus is obsessed with strange animals and Chickenhare and Abe must escape before they are stuffed. They end up escaping with two other strange animals, Meg and Banjo, into a deep dark cave where they find that there are other dangers outside of Klaus that are just as deadly. Oh, and I should mention that Chickenhare is being haunted by the ghost of a goat…yes it all ties together eventually.
This is a well done but very bizarre graphic novel. The theme throughout is pretty morbid. Basically Klaus is a very emotionally damaged man who likes to snuggle with the dead animals he kills and stuffs…this man has serious mental issues.
It gets even weirder when Chickenhare finds the dead rotting body of the goat who has been haunting him. The goat, Buttons, decides to reinhabit his dead body and then for the vast portion of the story Chickenhare is dragging around a dead goat body.
All the above being said, despite the morbid oddness of this story I ended up liking it. I can honestly say I have never read anything like this book. It was well written and engaging…and just downright strange.
The illustration throughout is brightly colored, easy to follow, and very well done. However, I do have a bit of trouble figuring out what demographic this was written for. It’s targeted at a middle grade audience but I think it might be a bit too out there for most kids in that age group to really get it. That, and as I said, it’s pretty darn morbid.
Overall this was an entertaining and bizarre graphic novel. I ended up enjoying it and it’s very different from other middle grade fantasy graphic novels out there. I would recommend to fans of the Bones graphic novels by Jeff Smith or the Amulet graphic novels by Kazu Kibuishi. However, this graphic novel isn’t as good as either of those… That being said I will probably go ahead and read the next one in the series because it was well done and was strange enough to intrigue me.