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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Reader's Diary #1954- Joris Chamblain (writer), Aurelie Neyret (artist): Cici's Journal Vol. 1

Joris Chamblain's Cici's Journal Vol. 1 is a promising start to a new series featuring a young girl who's also a writer-in-training. Getting the advice of a local author she admires, Cici aims to study people and their motivations. Like most kids she has an active imagination and an interest in spying on grown-ups. However, in the two adventures that make up this first volume, her nosiness pays off.

The first story is also the stronger of the two. It deals with a mysterious old painter that Cici discovers has been keeping an old shut-down zoo "alive" by painting the animals that used to live there. It's a unique and quite beautiful story with valuable lessons about art and community.

The second is perhaps the more ambitious of the two, but some of the messages and lessons got lost in my opinion. In this one, there's an old lady who Cici discovers has been checking out the same book from the local library week after week, year after year. She's advised however that perhaps she's meddling a bit too much in this instance. Unfortunately, the warning I think would have been lost given the outcome of the story (which I won't spoil here). Likewise, there's a sub-plot involving a feud with a friend, but it's underdeveloped, never really clear on why it's happened, nor how it got resolved.

Aurelie Neyret's art was also strong, but with some caveats. It was beautiful, with exquisite line work and great characterizations, but the colouring I felt a bit too sepia toned, giving the book a nostalgic or historical feel. I was surprised when a cellphone was mentioned as I thought at first that it was set in the past. I also felt that Cici's personality was such that it deserved brighter colours. Another issue, and I fear that I'm drifting into nit-picking with this one, was the speech balloons. They didn't have frames and the tails that typically points to the speaker, were so thin and twirly that sometimes I had to get back to see who said what.

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