18. Taro and the Magic Pencil by Sango Morimoto

Taro and the Magic Pencil by Sango Morimoto. Translated from the Japanese by Katherine Schilling. (Canada) - (US)
Adventures of Taro, 1

Pages: 104
Ages: 6-10
Finished: Jan. 19, 2011
First Published: 2008, Japan (Nov. 2, 2010 US)
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: manga, fantasy
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

This is Taro, the Prince of Comics.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: The plot sounded fun and I thought my son might enjoy the book.

This is an absolutely adorable story with a plot worthy of any popular cartoon show. Taro loves to draw comics and when he isn't reading them he is drawing them in his sketchbook and has pictures all over his room. He imagines they all live in a world called Doodledum. One day the very first drawing he made comes to life to tell him that Doodledum is in great peril. A nasty villain, King Crossout, is erasing everything in Doodledum and if Taro doesn't come to save them they will all be deleted. He is given a magic pencil and an alter comic ego, Terrie the terrier, when he enters Doodledum. This is his first adventure where the King sends one of his minions, Cutlass Croc, to deal with him.

What a fabulous, adventure story! Sure to win the hearts of any young gamers or anime watchers as it has that same type of action and plot. With a mission, puffed up bad guys and cute sidekicks, nothing is missing. The humour is hilarious and I had myself a good chuckle whilst reading. There was a part with the inevitable toilet humour but with a book that seems aimed at boys they'll love it, and it is just one short mini-arc. The book is done mostly in b/w but every now and then there is a full colour two page spread. The book isn't completely manga either as there is a running textual narrative throughout the book along with the manga aspect inserted within. Every inch of the book is used to tell the story with comic panels on the flaps and inside covers decorated with information. There's even a comic panel on the copyright page! The second book is out in March and if these are displayed properly in libraries I think Taro could become quite a popular character with the younger set.


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