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Da Crockydile Book O'Frendsheep
posted January 6, 2009

imageCreator: Stephan Pastis
Publishing Information: Andrews McMeel, hardcover, 92 pages, $9.99
Ordering Numbers: 9780740776274 (ISBN13), 074077627 (ISBN10)

I think I recommended this as a gift purchase for the just-past holiday season. That makes some sense: it's small enough to stuff in a stocking. I think it may work better as a backdoor introduction to Pastis' work. Although Pearls Before Swine is a successful newspaper strip, it isn't everywhere. Pastis' work is odd enough that everyday exposure might be the best way to absorb his rhythms and figure out where he places the stress points. I think this books could serve the same function. It focuses on the relentlessly dumb neighbor title characters. They embody the humor of the dumb and appetite-driven despite or perhaps even because of their relative level of viciousness. Since it's easy to get most of the main jokes, and the gags are solid, you can spend time picking up on the peculiarities of Pastis' approach: the way he uses cutaway panels transitions, or the manner in which the limited versatility of certain character designs becomes a strength. I look forward to my next encounter with one of Pastis' books.