Taro is a young man who loves to draw. He has created an entire world called Doodledum within the pages of his sketchbook. But now Doodledum is threatened by King Crossout and his Eraser-of-Doom. The Wise Magician gives Taro a magic pencil which turns him into Terrie, a terrier dog who can travel into Doodledum. Together with friends he meets along the way, Taro/Terrie must save the day!
Morimoto’s series focuses on the fantasy, but doesn’t neglect the silliness. Taro/Terrie is earnest and forthright, so it’s no surprise to readers that he’s the hero. But as he meets new people along the way they aren’t always as bad or as cowardly as they first seem to be. King Crossout’s plans are obvious and over-the-top, but Taro/Terrie always triumphs by being smarter and more inventive and because his friends are ready and eager to help. The plot moves quickly and makes leaps which will amuse and engage readers. There is the requisite fart, poop, and other gross-out jokes, but here these are also a smooth part of the storyline.
The art in the Taro series is broad and a good bit chaotic. Morimoto loves to draw things in exaggeration and his scenes have a fantastical quality which draws in readers’ eyes. The Taro series includes mazes and puzzles and bits for the reader to draw in and has extra details under the books’ flaps, encouraging readers to move and search. The storytelling seamlessly blends comic book elements with prose, creating the perfect type of hybrid novel. Taro’s adventures are a great choice for readers looking for quick, light books that offer a mix of reading experiences.
Taro and the Magic Pencil
VIZ Media, November 2010
Taro and the Terror of Eats Street
VIZ Media, March 2011