Aili's Reviews > Little Lit: Strange Stories for Strange Kids

Little Lit by Art Spiegelman
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's review
Jan 06, 08

Recommended for: Serious comics fans with $20 to burn

A lovely anthology of art by lots of really famous folks -- many of them famous for excellent reasons. This book is real purty. It's also neat to see non-comics folks like Paul Auster and David Sedaris try their hand at working with artists and telling a story visually, and to discover the gorgeous work of several underground, foreign (non-U.S.) artists.

Unfortunately the book isn't really sure what it is. The stories and activity pages are very narratively and thematically simple (in contrast to the very polished art) and thus are designed to appeal more to kids than to adults. But (and of course I am an adult) though I was gently amused by the stories, I wasn't enthralled enough by any individual story to want to read it over and over. (The story that most stuck with me is Paul Auster's -- it's about a man who dissociates -- and it was truly creepy and dealt with very adult themes. More of that, please!)

But the book isn't really for kids either -- the classy printing and binding and high price tag ($20) mean that parents may want to keep this high up on the shelf where it can't be scribbled in. I can't really see someone handing this to their child, with a magic marker, and saying "OK, find all the hidden objects!" I had lots of Tintin and Asterix and Donald Duck comics when I was a kid, and my brother and I read them so many times they were physically destroyed (we are still finding loose pages of Tintin and the Shooting Star in the attic). This book is too goshdarn nice, by too many nice famous adults, to let a kid destroy.

If Art Spiegelman really wants to make this project work, he could invite swanky famous non-comics people to write short stories for adults and collect those; OR he could invite swanky famous people to write stories for children on a monthly basis, print them on crappy paper, and sell them for $4.95. I suppose he could then collect the best and repackage those for $20. But right now the series is neither here nor there.

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