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Maddy Kettle Book 1: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch

Review

Maddy Kettle Book 1: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch

Maddy Kettle is a young girl whose parents are mice and her best friend is a toad who floats in the air. But Maddy's parents weren't always mice --- Maddy had the best life a girl could ask for up until the Thimble Witch sent her Spider Goblins after them. Not soon after this catastrophe, Maddy and her family of mice find themselves on the run in a boxcar. This is a fine beginning to a grand adventure across vast deserts, over dwarven ruins in the clouds and through the stars!

For as much fun as was crammed into MADDY KETTLE, it was still a quick read, and any more elaboration on the plot would more or less just give it all up. It happens to double as a children's storybook and a graphic novel. On the one side, I love it as a children's storybook. On the other, I find it falls short as a graphic novel.

A grand adventure across vast deserts, over dwarven ruins in the clouds and through the stars!

MADDY KETTLE is a fine and sweet story for a children's book audience. The art of Eric Orchard is definitely unique and heavily stylized. This man is an illustrator through and through. His illustrative influences are Tim Burton and Robert Crumb, with the flowing movement of Dr. Seuss. His lines and visual textures clearly belong in this medium. His storytelling in the graphic novel medium, however, is that of a newer voice that could use some fine-tuning and polishing.

Orchard's artwork is excellent, but his ability to progress the story across the panels shows signs of learning as he goes. There are a few moments where I was taken out of the moment because of some awkward character placements and blocking on the page, occasionally stopping me mid-page to assess it. It only happened a few times, but this can make or break even the best written graphic works. I tend to judge comic and graphic novel pieces rather harshly, but I must make it clear that the overall work is well-executed with art that was meticulously drawn with a great story. It was just the storytelling itself that fell short.

But with the attention this book is receiving, I am certain this just the first of many works by Eric Orchard. I will be looking forward to his next one, which I'm sure will be much more polished.

Reviewed by Matthew Burbridge on November 7, 2014

Maddy Kettle Book 1: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch
by Eric Orchard

  • Publication Date: September 30, 2014
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
  • ISBN-10: 160309072X
  • ISBN-13: 9781603090728