Between the Lines

Syncretic. Jan. 2021. 96p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781946071293.
Gr 5 Up–This lovely translation of Argentinean cartoonist Severei’s comics uses minimal text and spare yet striking images, mostly drawn in black crayon but with occasional, delightful bursts of color. Many of the illustrations are metaphorical, like visual poems—a middle-aged man watches himself melt down a drain, in a commentary on aging that might go over the heads of younger readers. Still, they’ll be entertained by other entries, like a hilarious cartoon of a caveman accidentally squashing a fly while making cave art, which feels straight out of The Far Side. Others are thoughtful and hopeful—a beheaded plant, with the text “Your roots are intact, you’ll flower again.” Though some of the themes explored are aimed at a slightly older audience (like a morose figure picking flower petals, saying, “She blocks me…She blocks me not”), there is no offensive content to prevent middle grade readers from enjoying the whimsical art.
VERDICT This is a quick read that will leave those who pick it up wanting more. Middle and high schoolers who enjoy poetry, art, or comics in the vein of The Far Side will be enchanted.

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