Princess Decomposia is a young princess of the underworld forced to take on royal duties long before her time. She has her own duties, but her father, the king, doesn’t feel quite well. Ever. So Decompsia is forced to pick up the slack, constantly dodging others seeking her attention, and buried under a mountain of paperwork. To top it off she has to hire a new cook as well! Luckily she hires Count Spatula, a vampire chef, that is as charming as he is sweet. Both have to sort out their lives…perhaps they’ll be able to do so together?
In this charming graphic novel artist and writer Andi Watson brings to life a story of friendship and perhaps even something more (somewhere down the road). While many readers may be turned off at the idea of reading a “love” story, Watson doesn’t tell us a straight story of romance. Instead he tells us a story of two young people developing a friendship as they strive to find their place in the world they care for. However, their growing friendship isn’t the focus of the story, instead the focus is the characters and what they deal with, including discussions on class, gender, and politics. The story plays out like a symphony weaving together high and low notes as needed. While this may sound like a lot to cram into a story, Watson does it justice through his skill as a writer and artist. And puns. Lots and lots of puns.
The inky black and white illustrations use sparse lines to capture the essence of the characters and show us their moods with a quirk of a slight grin on their face or down turned eyes. But the best part of the artwork by far are the characters. It’s rather delightful to see what form the next character introduced will take as some are cloves of garlic (literally) and others are monsters that we’ve grown up with, just with a somewhat softer touch. Even with serious topics being discussed the designs provide a bit of light humor, as we learn and understand what each character goes through.
While the book discusses heavier topics, it does so with a light, deft touch that make it easier for the reader to understand and relate to the characters. However, even though the book is funny, the heavier topics it deals with may be better suited to 4th grader and older. Read-alikes would include Three Shadows, El Deafo, and In Real Life.
Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula
by Andi Watson
First Second, 2015