Korgi: A Hollow Beginning tells the story of how Korgi Hollow came to be. In volume 2 of the series Ivy and her adorable korgi pup Sprout found a shard of stained glass. They decided to find out where it came from and what it means, so they go on a journey around Korgi Hollow that teaches them the history of their village and how the mollies and their korgi companions came to work together.
Korgi is a wordless graphic novel told through the use of black and white images. Slade, a former Disney animator turned freelance illustrator, has drawn a charming fantasy story with some seriously cute creatures. My particular favorite is Lump — a dragon with no wings who cannot breathe fire, but is a good friend to the mollies — who always has a smile on his face and looks a little derpy. The illustrations of the korgis are all darling, but many border on being over-the-top.
I enjoyed that this book contained two different illustration styles, Slade’s usual lovely, detail-oriented drawings for the world and a heavier-lined, more simple depiction of the history in a history book. The two styles help the reader differentiate between the main story and the other book and both are very well-created.
My issue with this Korgi book, and those in the past, is that the story is too complicated to be told without words. I spent a lot of time staring at each image trying to make sure I was understanding the plot development on each page, as it was not always clear. I am still not entirely sure I got everything that Slade was trying to convey. The most helpful things to the plot are the introduction Wart the historian gives you in every book, which explains about the book before and what to expect in the book you are about to read. Without him, I would have been totally lost. Another nice addition is the character summaries at the end of the book, which explain the backgrounds of each of the characters you meet. This is why I know that Lump is a dragon who was rejected by his dragon family for not having wings or being able to breathe fire. While I am normally a huge fan or wordless picture books and graphics, this book (perhaps even just in the historical section) could have really used at least a few words. The story here is interesting, but difficult to depict clearly in some of the panels.
The artwork in these is really the star. Slade is able to express the emotions of particularly the korgis so excellently. The cross-hatching and other background detail is intricate and gorgeous. It is clear that Slade took a lot of time to make these illustrations come out just as he wanted. I would recommend this book, if only for the stunning illustrations on each page.