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Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons

Review

Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons

written and illustrated by Agnes Rosenstiehl

Silly Lilly is a very basic comic book designed for early readers. The text is simple and relies on lots of repetition, and the pictures are also repetitious: Each two-page spread contains four panels, with Lilly in the center of each one, performing simple actions appropriate to the seasons --- wading in the sea, eating apples, etc.

The pages and layouts have a very uniform look to them. Each panel is an upright rectangle containing a full-body shot of Lilly, a horizon line, a speech balloon, and a few objects that are germane to the story (teddy bears, apples, etc.). There are no close-ups or shifts in point of view; it’s almost like looking at a set of playing cards spread on the table. To the adult eye, this monotony is off-putting; it makes the book seem contrived and stiff. (Lucy’s standard pose, torso facing front and head facing to the side like an Egyptian painting, doesn’t help.)

For young readers, however, the simplicity may be a plus. There are few distractions from the text, and the rhythm of repeated panels is reassuring. The text is very simple, fewer than 10 words per speech balloon and only one balloon per panel, with plenty of repetition.

Each of the five chapters opens with a title panel, leaving seven panels to tell the story. Not surprisingly, the stories are very simple: Lilly discusses what she likes to do in the park; Lilly throws snowballs and hits her teddy bear; Lilly climbs on a swing, loses her balance and then swings. Again, boring for the adult but simple enough to be pleasing to a child who is just mastering reading, as each chapter will feel like an accomplishment.

Other than chapter titles, there is only one type of text in this book: Lucy’s comments, which are all in word balloons, just as in other comics. The words and the art work together to tell the story --- the pictures alone won’t suffice.

Agnes Rosenstiehl’s art is simple and almost Art Deco in style; shapes are simple, colors are unmodulated and bounded by heavy lines. This rather cool style holds the reader at arm’s length but also gives the book a simple, pleasing and timeless look.

SILLY LILLY AND THE FOUR SEASONS is neither a laugh riot nor a thrill a minute, but the simple shapes and straightforward stories may be just right for an early reader for whom just being able to read an entire story is thrill enough.

Reviewed by Brigid Alverson on July 22, 2008

Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons
written and illustrated by Agnes Rosenstiehl

  • Publication Date: July 22, 2008
  • Genres: Graphic Novel
  • Paperback: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Toon Books
  • ISBN-10: 0979923875
  • ISBN-13: 9780979923876