A Collection Of Cartoons by Drew Aquilina

Being a book reviewer is an interesting occupation, although one that is rarely talked about at career day in your local high school. While I am by no means a fan of the movie Forest Gump, but there is a line from the dialogue that hits home “Life is like a box of chocolates”. Oh how true a statement. I never know what gems my friendly postal delivery person is going to heap on me.

The other day I was pounding away on my computer and I heard the familiar honk on the horn, the ‘secret’ signal that a package would not fit in the mail box! OK it is not really a secret signal, but it works.

Once I had navigated the ‘adult proof’ wrapping I found a rare gem, Green Pieces – Green From The Pond Up. I had read the Press Release for this book, and I have to admit that of all of the genres of books that I work with, cross generational books are among my absolute favourites. To create a work that is a hit with both youngsters and adults is a very difficult task.

Many people think that creating a book aimed at the younger generation is easy. I disagree, it is a very complex combination of a number of different factors. Visual appeal, educational value, and entertainment are but some of ingredients that the author must have in his or her formula. Drew openly admits that his target is the adult audience, but also see’s that it will have great appeal to the younger generation.

A true master of the craft can also produce a work that appeals to young and old alike. I remember playing a party game a number of years ago, the premise was that you were to be marooned on a desert island and you could take ten books with you, what books would you take. The first two that popped into my mind were Wind In The Willows, and Alice In Wonderland. Although both are primarily children’s books, both have that unique ability to cross generational boundaries.

I see Green Pieces as being such a book. Drew Aquilana is a cartoonist by trade, and has created a compilation of some of his strips. Many are simple four or eight panel strips, all are steeped in humour and many have an environmental message. Much of the humour operates on both a childs level and an adult one. A number of years ago there was a TV program Fragle Rock, it managed to achieve that fine balance, kids loved it for the simple humour, while adults loved it for the deeper and mostly somewhat surreal humour.

I mentioned earlier that a vital component in a successful book is the educational value. I see a huge amount of education in these simple cartoons. Much of it concerns environmental issues that we all should be worried about.

As I said, many of the strips are ones with a message, others are just pure fun. I was talking to Drew yesterday and he has allowed me to reprint a couple of my favourites fun ones.

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Green Pieces is slated for release in September, and I think it will go far. As soon as we do have a firm launch date and the final edit I will put up a review, I also plan on doing an interview with Drew. Clearly this man is a creative and very humorous genius.

You can get a taste of Drew’s style from his web site.

Simon Barrett

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