Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Reader's Diary #1942- Jacob Sager Weinstein (writer), Vera Brosgol (illustrator): Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian

Children's picture books essentially meet Scott McCloud's widely accepted definition of comics; "juxtaposed pictorial and other images in a deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or produce an aesthetic response in the viewer." Despite having said features however, it's never felt to me when reading a picture book that I'm reading a comic. They've seemed to be related but ultimately separate beasts.Picture books most often don't have typical comics tools and symbology.

Jacob Sager Weinstein and Vera Brosgol's Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian is one of the few classification-blending examples. It has the size and length of a typical picture book, but also has panels and speech balloons. Neither of the latter features are mandatory for McCloud's definition above but would certainly help in introducing younger readers to more traditional comic books.

I also think younger readers would quite enjoy it, which comes as a bit of a relief. I see "Librarian" in a title and I immediately think it's going to be well-intentioned but ultimately boring and/or schmaltzy. Or miss the mark on librarianship altogether.

Weinstein's story of the evil Doctor Glockenspiel's threat to destroy the world's books unless he's given one billion trillion dollars is action packed and anything but boring. It's also, with a large credit to Vera Brosgol's art, hilarious in a Despicable Me silly and over-the-top sort of way.  I especially enjoyed Glockenspiel's three henchman, identical except for their varied facial hair.

Given the ludicrous plot, you might think that my other fear (i.e., missing the mark on librarianship) was justified. It's not like most us deal with super-villains on a daily basis after all. However, Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian saves the day with reader's advisory which is an actual librarian skill. Sure it's never referred to specifically as "reader's advisory" and sure, she also makes use of a series of physical disguises, but these are just fun liberties. (And I have been known to wear a wig at work.)

1 comment:

Melwyk said...

This sounds hilarious & Charming - putting a hold on it now. Thanks for the RA suggestion ;)