Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Stuff of Legend - Book 1: The Dark

The Stuff of Legend - Book 1: The Dark by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith (illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson, III)

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads)The year is 1944. As Allied forces fight the enemy on Europe’s war-torn beaches, another battle begins in a child’s bedroom in Brooklyn. When the nightmarish Boogeyman snatches a boy and takes him to the realm of the Dark, the child’s playthings, led by the toy soldier known as the Colonel, band together to stage a daring rescue. On their perilous mission they will confront the boy’s bitter and forgotten toys, as well as betrayal in their own ranks. Can they save the boy from the forces of evil, or will they all perish in the process? The Stuff of Legend is a haunting and ultimately redemptive tale of loyalty, camaraderie, and perseverance.

And here's what I thought:  Let me start by saying that although this is a graphic novel, and it involves toys, this isn't really a book for children.   It's not cutesy; it's serious.  When a group of favorite toys loses their boy to the boogeyman, it's scary.  The Boogeyman has dark, frightening tendrils that grab the boy and pull him into the Dark (looks like his closet).   As the summary says, some of the toys gather a group together, determined to rescue the boy from the Boogeyman, embarking on a dangerous mission into the realm of the Dark.    The toys all become transformed when they enter the realm (the stuffed teddy bear becomes a huge, fierce bear, the piggy bank becomes a real pig, etc).  And just in case you think this is a whole Pixar, Toy-Story, everything is brightly colored and not too scary ---- think again.  There is real danger conveyed in these beautifully drawn illustrations, and everything is washed in a sepia tone that indicates just how serious the situation is for these toys.  And some of the toys might have agendas of their own, which will put the mission in peril.    This is a great story, which left me biting my fingernails at some parts (and now that I finished the book, wanting to know when Part II will be published).

And a little side note:  I don't mean to put down Pixar's Toy Story movies here.  Quite the contrary, I just meant to contrast the two stories.   I just saw Toy Story 3 last week and loved it (even thought it got me choked up at times).    I was one of those kids that didn't play with dolls; I played with stuffed animals.  All of them had different personalities (and voices, if necessary), and I had great, imaginative adventures with them.   I used to imagine, like I'm sure most kids did, that my stuffed animals came alive when I was asleep, and had even more adventures on their own.  And, I've never quite completely grown up about that, I think.  I had a hard time when my mom gave away a big bag of my stuffed animals without asking me, and worried that they were going to good homes.   Let me note, I was in my early twenties when she and my sister did this (and if they had just asked me, I would have taken all of them).  And, I still have some stuffed guys in my home now.   I suppose I'll always have a soft spot for these kinds of stories, where toys come to life, and have adventures --- and I'm fine with that (even if I do get all choked up when I watch Toy Story and then need some serious hugs from my husband!). 

Where I got this book:  Library!


Chelle said...

This is the second time I've seen this one blogged about. It looks good! I still have a few of my stuffed animals, too, and don't plan on letting them go!

WonderBunny said...

Hmm...interesting. Not sure if I would like this or not but you've got me intrigued.

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