'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 30 November 2015

Review: It So Happens

Algernon is wondering what he should do today. He rolls the dice. Bear-hunting it is.

As he heads out with his bazooker, he meets a rabbit and a fish, but he's not interested in them. Only bears. The fish gets his tongue tied in a knot so the rabbit tries a spell to help him untie it, but it doesn't work. So the fish hides in a lake. With his tongue twisted. But the fish actually hates water.

Meanwhile, Algernon has headed off to hunt a bear, when he meets a Swiss witch who turns people into stools. Actually, it's only Dutch people she can turn into stools. But in order to do this, she first needs to turn herself into a bear ...

This is a hilariously divergent story that so cleverly goes off on tangents (while still keeping a tight narrative rein), it's almost cinematic in this way--changing scenes back and forth to see what's happening elsewhere in the story.

It So Happens is mindbogglingly quirky, clever and enormous fun. I so enjoyed the dry humour that all adults will chuckle over. Kids, too, will love the quirk and silliness and occasional darkness. My favourite scene is when the headless witch chases Algernon with a broom, subtly inferring he should drive her to a doctor's--and I simply adore the new witch's head the doctor gives her ... from a 1960s sitcom witch. Can you guess who?

With fabulous, très Euro, cartoon-like imagery in full and rich colour, this is a book for illustration lovers, too.

First published in 2013 in French, under the title L'Atelier du Poisson Soluble (The Soluble Fish Workshop).

Title: It So Happens
Author/Illustrator: Finzo
Publisher: Berbay, $29.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 September 2015
Format: Hard cover, high page count
ISBN: 9780994289506
For ages: 6+
Type: Picture Book