Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Plucker by Brom (4/5 stars)

This is an illustrated novel by Brom. Brom both tells the story and illustrates it. His artwork is both extremely creepy and hauntingly beautiful.

This is the story of Jack, a Jack in the Box toy who belongs to Thomas. Jack is a forgotten toy and has been dwelling in the Underbed. When Thomas's father brings the boy a new toy, Thomas's soul as well as all of the toys are in grave danger. It is left to Jack and Thomas's nanny Mirabel to defeat the evil being and save Thomas.

This book pulls no punches where visciousness and gore comes in. The Plucker is evil incarnate, granted he is torturing toys, but the torture scenes are no less disturbing for the lack of blood. It is a well-written story; a morbid twist on the timeless tale of what happens to the toys when they are forgotten. Think Toy Story meets Stephen King. The artwork is beautiful.

I really enjoyed the book. I was going to sit down and read it with my son but decided to read it on my own first. I am glad I did. While there is no blood, so to speak, there is a lot of torture and toy disembermant. The Plucker has a fowl mouth and swears something awful; we're talking real swearing here. This is a scary book, I am 30 and I thought it was scary. I can't imagine what my boy would have thought. I disagree with the editorial review that says this is Grade 5 and up for reading level; I agree more with the review that says Grade 9 and up. This is some pretty adult stuff and one of the pictures, while artistic, does have some disturbing toy nudity :-) Definitely not a children's fairy tale; this story emits darkness that is more typical of your original Grimm Brothers fairy tales.

The book sends a good message and ends in a very hopeful way. As I mentioned I was impressed with both the artwork and the story; I am excited to see and read more work by Brom.

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