Apr 9, 2012

Happy Happy Clover

vol 4
by Sayuri Tatsuyama

I'm still feeling my way in terms of reading graphic novels; not sure yet what all the different distinctions are. This one, I think, is considered kids' manga. I found it cute and amusing. Happy Happy Clover is a series about a little bunny and her friends in a forest. The book contains a dozen little stories that can stand alone. Of course, I started with volume four, the one I found on the library shelf, so I don't have all the backstory, but it was pretty easy to figure out what was going on. Clover seems to be quite the mischievous little bunny; she's stubborn, has a quick temper, and is something of a tomboy, as I realized while reading "A Star is Born", wherein Clover finally consents to attend a girls' party full of baking cookies, embroidery and girly talk. She'd really rather be outside doing some extreme sledding! In another story, Clover wants to visit her grandfather, and sets off on the journey by herself, even though she's been forbidden to travel so far. Migrating ducks spread horror stories among the animals in another, making them all terrified of a mysterious black chestnut. A fourtune-telling fox pays a visit, Clover's friend Kale relates what it was like to become a new big brother, and Clover's hatred for her green veggies comes to haunt her, in other stories.

The tales are all quite entertaining, as well as presenting a subtle lesson for kids. In the end, there's even a little segment showing how the author/illustrator goes through the process of creating the book and getting it printed. I liked it quite a bit, and when I was done handed the comic book to my seven-year-old. She read it all during our drive to the beach, and when we got back I promptly picked up volumes 1-3 from the library so we can read more of Clover's little adventures.

This is the first time I've read a book printed the same way it is in the original Japanese, that is read from right to left, back to front. It took quite a bit of getting used to, but wasn't too difficult an adjustment. My daughter loved the novelty of "reading a book backwards" and when I showed her the shelf where I'd found children's graphic novels at the library today, she wasn't interested much in the characters or plots presented, but only wanted to find another book she could read backwards!

rating: 3/5 ........ 188 pages, 2006

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