Captain Longears is a confused, imaginative little boy who always wears a hat with bunny ears. Together with his stuffed animal Captain Jam, he goes on Space Ninja adventures. At least, he used to, until Captain Big Nose went missing. Now, he and Captain Jam must try to find Captain Big Nose at Happy Land, where he used to take them every year, and save him.
This graphic novel was not what I thought it was going to be. Based on the funny title and the brightly-colored cover, I was expecting something along the lines of “Adventure Time” or “Astronaut Academy”, a fun, quirky, and hilarious story about two friends trying to save the world/princess/etc. Instead, I found myself reading an insightful, emotional story about a lonely little boy with a whole lot of imagination. The book goes back and forth from Captain Longears’ view of the world and reality. He sees monsters and goblins, when really it is an adult trying to help him or just someone passing by eating an ice cream.
Despite the inventive plotline, I had some trouble with the overall book. While the artwork in the first few pages showed me I was in a magical place with the use of swirling lines and spirals, it does not for the rest of the book. The use of black and white simple, cartoony art is effective for telling the “real” part of the story, but I found myself confused in a few places about whether what was happening was real or not. By the end of the book, things become more clear concerning the action, but the muddling in the middle was really confusing. It would have been helpful if there had been some differentiation, such as wavy panel lines or something to make things more clear.
Though Captain Big Nose’s identity is supposed to be a mystery, it was very obvious who he was supposed to represent. We never find out why he is gone. I have my theories, but the story gives conflicting answers. The story moved very slowly for me, but showed some very real, raw emotions. By the end of the book, I really felt for Captain Longears and desperately wanted to help him.
The story was a great idea, but it could have been carried out more effectively on the page. Based on my own confusion and the depth of emotions the story elicits, it read more adult to me, than the 10 and up suggested by the publisher. It is very clear that this is Thung’s first graphic novel, but I definitely think she is someone to watch.
by Diana Thung
SLG Publishing, 2010
Publisher Age Rating: Ages 10 and up