Written by P, a & L, and O, i,
Genre: Read aloud and art/cartoon illustrations.
The Animal Family is the latest in the illustrated travel series of Thinking About the World books by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Gary Larson. Long considered one of the greatest contemporary artists of all time, the Minnesota native was equally successful as an author of such books as “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” and “Itty Bitty Titty Committee.” He is the creator of offbeat characters such as Waldo, the crotchety dogs, memorable “Julie and Julia” characters and many more. His distinctive watercolor style can be found in many of his works.
The Animal Family is a different animal than the more serious memoir “The World According to Garp” or the dark comedy “So I Married an Axe Murderer,” but retains Larson’s intelligence and humor. The Reader is the central character, struggling to cope with the death of his old father, while his sister is intrigued by a young girl’s claims of wanting to live a different life. He travels to a new country, while his older brother remains in his sad situation. In the pages of the book’s adventures, readers will learn about his new identity and a new way of thinking. He gets into some trouble on his new quest, but emerges wiser and better than ever before. The book is colorful, humorous and images of exotic animals, starfish and other magical creatures help to bring readers along on the journey. The illustrations are also beautiful in their own right, creating a colorful, striking series of snapshots that represent the location of the reader’s trip.