birdcatdogA bird! A cat! A dog! They each have their own motives! They are each—as stated at the beginning and reminded to us at the end—the heroes of their own stories. The bird must escape a hawk. The cat tries to chase the bird and escape the dog. The dog runs after the cat but then fights with another dog. The wordless comic follows each of them panel by panel across each page, bird at the top of the page, cat in the middle, and dog at the bottom. There should be a bit of suspense and unpredictability to it, but there isn’t. Each animal behaves exactly as it should, escapes their perils with their hides and their pride intact, and all is right with the world.

The illustrations, though laid out in that potentially dynamic three-perspective style, are surprisingly static and slow. The comic is in full color, and each animal gets its own shade of the color palette, but again, the effect is such that each story comes off as separate and predictable.

Since it’s a comic for kids, and the first in a series called Three-Story Books, there’s definitely an academic lesson here on the rules of storytelling and the importance of a narrative perspective that could provide for some interesting classroom story-creation activities, but I have to think that most children’s stories would vastly improve on the level of action and creative storytelling here. With that in mind, BirdCatDog embarks on an interesting project of narrative perspective for the youngest set, but I hope later Three-Story Books are a bit bolder in their storytelling prowess.

BirdCatDog
by Lee Nordling
Art by Meritxell Bosch
ISBN: 9781467745222
Graphic Universe, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: 5-9

  • Emilia Packard

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support! Emilia has been reading graphic novels rabidly since her best friend handed her Craig Thompson’s Blankets over winter break during her sophomore year of college. From that day, her fate was sealed — at Grinnell College, she created, edited and drew strips for a student comics magazine called The Sequence. As an MLS Student at the University of Illinois, she spent way too much time filling up her backpack (and her roommate’s backpack) with the treasures of the Undergrad Library’s comics collection — never less than 40 books at a time. Just in the past few years, she’s worked at libraries and archives in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Indiana, and Austin, Texas and consumed their graphic novels collections with great gusto. She has been drawing her stick-figure avatar, Flippy-Do, since she was about 10 years old.

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