Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tiny Tyrant Volume Two: The Lucky Winner

Today, a short review of Tiny Tyrant (Volume Two: The Lucky Winner) by Lewis Trondheim, illustrated by Fabrice Parme, a copy of which was sent to me for review purposes by the good folks at First Second Books (who put out some of my very favorite graphic novels - I say it because it's true, not because they send me the occasional review copy).

I have to confess to not having read Volume One: The Ethelbertosaurus before reading Tiny Tyrant: Volume Two: The Lucky Winner. I do not believe I missed out on the premise – which involves a very young, and very spoiled, King Ethelbert lording it over his subjects with humorous consequences – but I am sure I missed more of a good time. But I digress.

Tiny Tyrant (Volume Two: The Lucky Winner) takes place in the kingdom of Portocristo, where the diminutive King Ethelbert tries to ensure he comes out on top in all occasions. He manages to woo Princess Hildegardina; declares himself the winner of all contests or competitions; undertakes an investigation into the unlawful use of his image; vies for his inheritance with his equally awful cousin, Sigismund; orders everything in the kingdom resized for his convenience; and pens his autobiography.

Of course, none of these things go smoothly. His chef, unhappy at wasting so much food, gets back at Ethelbert with the cunning use of a remote headset. He finds the luxury vacation he swiped from a "peasant" game-show contestant unsatisfactory. For instance, there's the issue of having to share things, like hotel pools and airplanes:

And of course, Ethelbert sees no problem with the criminals appropriating his image, since he likes the look of the toys they produce. The episode involving a possible inheritance from a not-quite-dead aunt is hilarious, and comes close to teaching Ethelbert and his cousin Sigismund a lesson, which might best be states as "relatives aren't always as good or bad as you'd think." He bends everything (and everyone) out of shape with his size-ray; and makes a complete hash of things in an attempt to perform feats worthy of writing about for his autobiography, which begins, as all good stories do, in the library:

Speaking of libraries, might I suggest that you add this one to your own library, or at least make sure your local public library has a copy? Because I guarantee you that kids love this one. Not just my two teens, either, both of whom thought this was hilarious - and neither of whom are huge fans of graphic novels as a whole (although S tends to like them more than M in general).

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