If Animals Could Talk

Sometimes you just stumble upon a book that looks simple but turns out to be a really funny read.  That’s how I felt about Liz Climo’s works and now that’s how I feel about Carla Butwin’s If Animals Could Talk. Using animals, Butwin takes our preconceived notions of them and turns them on their head.  Irreverently funny, Butwin plays on words and the characteristics we place on certain anAnimalsimals. While it may look like a read aloud for your kids, I would not recommend it.  There’s a lot of irony and sarcasm that may be lost on kids and there is some PG-13 language.  As for adults, read-a-way!
I don’t like to compare authors a lot.  It feels like comparing siblings, which isn’t fair.  I feel that as readers we tend to do this subconsciously, especially with authors who write in similar styles and genres.  Butwin certainly has her own specific style and she takes the animal-humor (genres?) in a unique directions.  When I first grabbed the book off the shelf, I do feel like I set myself up to read one of Climo’s books, however. Due to this, I feel that I was pleasantly surprised because Butwin’s humor is much sharper and edgier.  All in all I feel that neither Climo nor Butwin is better than the other since they are writing in unique ways about similar topics.  Frankly I’m glad because we readers will benefit from future works of both amazing authors.

A quick but hilarious read, I recommend this if you want to see animals make fun of themselves in a PG-13 fashion as well as experience an author playing on our presupposed ideas of what endears us to the creatures in this book. Carla Butwin is going alongside Liz Climo as two of my favorite authors who use animals to share humor.


Lobster is the Best Medicine

Last year I stumbled across a humorous tome, The Little World Of Liz Climo and was Lobsteramazed at how so much humor could be packed into a such short comics.  I’m delighted to share with you Ms. Climo’s latest work, Lobster is the Best Medicine.  I was honored to be contacted by Ms. Was to receive a review copy in exchange for an honest review.  I’ve never received an ARC, although I sign up for those giveaways on Goodreads ALL THE TIME.  The odds are not in my favor.

Not that I doubted Ms. Climo, but I was worried what I would say if this latest didn’t live up to my enjoyment of the former.  This wasn’t even the case.  The snark, wit, and overall conundrums of friendships are tackled adroitly in Lobster and, dare I say, raise the bar on The Little World.

Friendships are something we are all have, yet are so unique and unexplainable.  Each friendship has its quirks and complex rituals, yet we do a lot of it unconsciously.  There’s also that love/hate relationship that underlies many friendships.  There’s that thing your friend does that you can’t help but tease them about.  For example, in Lobster, there’s a shark in a pool that is creeping up on a boat, the narration goes, “And the giant megalodon stalks his unsuspecting prey.”  The next scene shows the same shark holding the boat behind his back, while speaking to his friend, who’s apparently just shown up.  The friend wonders if the first shark was talking to the boat and first shark is trying to play it off.  We’ve all been there buddy.

There’s also the times we accept the eccentricities of our friends.  Like the penguin who is wondering why his orca friend is lounging on the ice.  The orca responds that he had just had lunch and is waiting an hour before going back into the water (ba dum tiss). Or the otter who is asking his shark friend what his wifi password is.  The shark answers that it’s “I eat otters”.  He defends himself by saying that it was created before he was friends with the otter.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to spoil all the comical instances that explore friendships that Ms. Climo has delivered to us.  I recommend that you read the introduction in which she shares a touching instance of when a friend helped her out and how friends have played a part in her life.  Here’s hoping there’s another Liz Climo work next year!

The Little World of Liz Climo

As I mentioned when I wrote about 2014 Best American Comics, I’m challenging myself to seek out new graphic literature.  I don’t remember where I first came across Liz Climo’s The Little World of Liz Climo, but it’s well drawn, hilarious musings of Climo.

Liz ClimoWhat stood out to me was that the animals (which are her characters in this work) seem so innocent, yet they aren’t naive.  One of my favorites was a scene with barnyard animals gathered around the barn door.  In the top corner is a spiderweb with “asshole” writing into the web and the caption reads something like, “When Charlotte and Wilbur have a fight.”  Who doesn’t love a good joke based on a classic children’s book?

Ironically, the day before I read this one of my coworkers showed me that horribly catchy “Narwhal Song” YouTube video.  And Climo apparently has caught on to narwhal fever.  In one scene, Dolphins are bouncing (with their snouts) a beach ball and one of them quips that they have to keep it away from the narwhal, for obvious reasons.  Then there’s the narwhal who thinks he’s Don Juan and has a piece of mistletoe hanging from the bottom of an iceberg.  A female dolphin happens by and the narwhal quips about his luck.  It’s left to us to understand the she-dolphin’s look of dismay.

Once again I’m glad that I’ve ventured into the world of graphic literature.  Pictures are worth a thousand words so how much more are those pictures that are accompanied by words?

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