the Graphic Novelby Brain Jacques
adapted by Stuart Moore
I really enjoyed the artwork. It's all black-and-white, with washes of gray. It's very atmospheric, has lots of different viewpoints and angles, making for a wonderful visual story. I had a few problems with how the characters were drawn, though. The mice and rats all had rather pointy ears, I kept thinking they didn't quite look like mice or rats. The rats look perfectly evil, but their snouts are so long and full of teeth they almost appear crocodilian. One particularly sneaky one also has a long neck- he looks more like a weasel than a proper rat. Another thing that bugged me was the scale- the foxes and badgers the mice interact with are only twice as big as the mice, which makes them either look smaller than normal, or the mice particularly large. This seemed normal in the context of the story until Matthias met the cat- who appeared a giant monster, having the usual size relationship to a mouse. But foxes are normally bigger than cats... It was a very nicely-drawn cat, I just couldn't get over the visual discrepancy.
Well, I can't compare how closely this book follows the original novel, as I haven't read that. I'm sure it's left a lot of material out. But as a stand-alone the story is good enough, moves with a quick pace, and Matthias has plenty of interesting adventures dealing with spies, thieves and villains as well as finding friends in unexpected places. I'm sure kids who like battles, adventure stories and animals would really enjoy this book.
rating: 3/5 ........ 143 pages, 2007
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