Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Squirrel Mother by Megan Kelso

A young girl watches as her mother quietly breaks down. A family relives their vacation slides. A teddy bear meets an untimely end. These are three of the stories from The Squirrel Mother by Megan Kelso, an Ignatz Award-winning cartoonist. This collection of graphic short stories has slice of life pieces (trick-or-treating, learning how to dance, going to the beach) mixed in with more whimsical ones (a fork and a spoon who fall in love) and political ones (a look at how countries fail to support their troops, a longer piece about Alexander Hamilton).

My favourite stories were the one on Halloween (with the thesis of ‘you can learn a lot trick-or-treating’, like what music people listen to, how their rooms are decorated, or what kind of candy they give out) and the three-part Alexander Hamilton story. It’s funny and sad at the same time, all the while demonstrating quite a grip on American history. It reminded me a lot of Canadian Kate Beaton’s work at Hark! A Vagrant (which I also love). Throughout the stories Kelso shows off a wide variety of styles – everything looks like hers, but nothing looks the same. Some stories are in black and white, some are in full colour, and some are in a place somewhere in between. The final story, about a girl growing up in the west, has only blue shades in it with brown lines; it’s extremely striking. The Squirrel Mother made me want to see more of Megan Kelso's work.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso
Queen of the Black Black by Megan Kelso
The Impostor's Daughter by Laurie Sandell
Make Me a Woman by Vanessa Davis
Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton

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