BOOK REVIEW: The Peddler’s Bed
SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE In the world of comic books and graphic novels, many dominant themes center on stark realism, socio-political-economic commentaries, historical events and personalities, violence, science fiction, fantasies, and particularly right now, superhero. How about stories catering for our beloved very young children? Sure, there are a couple of these and one of these […]
SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE
In the world of comic books and graphic novels, many dominant themes center on stark realism, socio-political-economic commentaries, historical events and personalities, violence, science fiction, fantasies, and particularly right now, superhero. How about stories catering for our beloved very young children? Sure, there are a couple of these and one of these gems is the creation of Lauri Fortino and our very own Bong Redila who crafted a very eye-popping, entertainingly, and yet, simple visual narrative in The Peddler’s Bed.
First and foremost, The Peddler’s Bed is as simple as it gets. It is a children’s graphic novel—simple, easy-to-read, colorful, oozing with positivity, and most importantly, must teach children something valuable. There are three characters: the peddler, little man, and a dog named Happy. The peddler comes to the man’s humble home and makes an offer the latter must achieve, if the little man creates a sound on the former’s top-of-the-line bed, he can have it for FREE. Easier said than done, as what the cliché says. But, instead of dwelling to the usual cynicism and other dubious styles of negative storytelling that dominate many comic genres nowadays, Ms. Fortino resorts to the old-fashioned but highly effective narrative that suits to very young children, more so for parents who want to do bedtime storytelling. Additionally, young children should be taught and guided with great values and manners, like respect, trust, generosity, hospitality, and being grounded. The writer actually achieves this objective and our kababayan simply nails those traits that surely create a lasting impression to young readers, as well as a great reading graphic material for every children’s library out there.
Naturally, Mr. Redila carries the burden of fulfilling the writer’s tale by executing a very vibrant children’s storybook that even adults can surely love the overall interiors. Colorful it is, and the artist avoids making his colors so bright or so grim, even during nighttime to ensure the consistent feel of warmth and positivity. Sure, one may argue that Redila’s artistic style can be connected to Skottie Young’s highly energetic, playful and childish illustrative trademark. And, in all seriousness, Skottie Young fans should enjoy Redila’s artistic style as well. Redila shows further his good command of sequential illustrative narration that goes well with the writer’s simple yet charming prose. The faces of the characters are quirky and illuminating without any exaggerations whatsoever.
On the serious note, I love how the creative team projects of the possibility of molding a type of capitalist who is righteous at heart. I say so for the fact that capitalism is often associated with negativity, particularly values of exploitations and greed, something we want to avoid and/or minimize, to say the least. Perhaps, Ripple Grove Press may contribute something of the dream of a society molded on righteousness without aggravating one’s dignity and trust.
As this book is as good as it gets, it is very, very short. Surely, I want more Redila’s fantastic illustrations. Since many comic publishers nowadays cater young parents and even children, like IDW and even Archie Comics. I hope these peoples take notice of Redila’s artwork. And naturally, not everyone would enjoy this, particularly the pessimists and the cynics alike. Consider the latter rant as an asterisk.
The Peddler’s Bed is a great albeit short children’s storybook that delivers so much positivity and the emphasis of the greater good, particularly values, manners, respect, and most significantly, trust. The creative team, especially our own Bong Redila, achieves of fusing simplicity in narrative and excellent illustrations. Both children and children-at-heart definitely love this one. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!