The Garfield Edition

A column article by: Penny Kenny

Papercutz, publisher of graphic novels featuring well-known characters such as Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Geronimo Stilton, and the Smurfs, expands its line again with the addition of Garfield & Co., based on the Nickelodeon cartoon. Two volumes, Fish to Fry and The Curse of the Cat People are available now.

These books are a librarian and parents' dream. First, they feature characters children know and love, guaranteeing they'll be read and not left untouched on the shelf. Second, they're well-designed books. They're hardcover to stand up to re-readings and the glued binding looks like it will hold up for a while. The cover designs are bright and eye-catching. The pages are glossy, but without glare, and the ink doesn't smudge. Those features alone make the books worth their $7.99 each price.

As far as content, each volume adapts three stories from the cartoon. Volume One, Fish to Fry (ISBN: 978-1-59707-266-3), contains "Family Portrait," "Nice to Nermal," "Fish to Fry," and a one page biography of Garfield creator Jim Davis by Papercutz editor Jim Salicrup. Volume Two, Curse of the Cat People (ISBN: 978-1-59707-267-0), has "The Curse of the Cat People," "The Pet Show," "The Bone Diggers," and a page by Salicrup listing other Papercutz titles.

Even children unfamiliar with the cartoon or Garfield the character will be able to enjoy these stories. They all feature a simple central concept. In "Family Portrait," Jon tries to get a nice picture of himself and his pets for his girlfriend. Comic mayhem ensues. Garfield tries to rig "The Pet Show" to win the prize - a pan of lasagna. Odie digging up a dinosaur bone in "The Bone Diggers" leads to big trouble. "The Curse of the Cat People" has the most complicated concept, but even it isn't too difficult to grasp. Garfield and Odie travel back in time via a magic amulet, then have to thwart a plot to conquer the world.

Art wise, it looks like Papercutz's taken stills of the cartoon's computer generated art and placed the appropriate word balloons over it. The pages are laid out in the grid format, making it easy for young readers to follow the story.

To test my thesis that these books will be a big hit with elementary age students, I handed them over to Cruz and Zachery, two 4th grade fans of the lasagna loving cat. Here are their thoughts.

Cruz: The book (Fish to Fry) was amazing. It's just like the shows. I like how it had three different sections. My favorite section was "Fish to Fry." The book didn't leave out any details. In "Fish to Fry," I like how Garfield said "I'll never eat another fish again…until next week!" This book was amazing. Sincerely, Cruz. P.S. Nice book.

Zachery: Garfield: Curse of the Cat People was great. I have seen it on TV. Still I like the book better. It's appropriate, neat, and everyone will like it. That was your best thought yet. Sincerely, Zachery.

So well all agree. Garfield & Co. volumes one and two are must haves for fans of fat cats and humorous stories.

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