Charles's Reviews > Scarlett: A Star on the Run

Scarlett by John Buller
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's review
Oct 05, 2015

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bookshelves: children-s, manga-graphic-novels, stat_1, reviewed

Stuff I Read - Scarlett: A Star on the Run by John Buller and Susan Schade Review

I have read a lot of talking animal stories in my day. I have seen a great many as well. They are not exactly rare when it comes to stories from younger readers. And yet I don't think I've ever encountered a book or movie that approached the trope in quite the way this graphic novel did. Because while most stories take the speculative premise of animals that can talk and run with it. There is magic or super science or something like that. Villains are over the top, storylines are epic. Here, however, I found almost the complete opposite the case. The story is small time, the characters grounded, and even the novelty of talking animals was made the product of rather mundane genetic research.

Not that I'm complaining, really. The charm of the story comes from the fact that it takes talking animals and makes their story about becoming friends with a reclusive curmudgeon. That it centers on Scarlett and Trotter fixing up an old house and learning how to use a credit card and being uncertain what to do when the old timer they're staying with has a heart attack and is taken to hospital. It is a bizarre story in some ways because nothing too weird happens. There are trials and obstacles, yes, which are fun and which move Scarlett and her friends around, but the graphic novel refuses to get lost in the spec elements.

The book is also structured well, with sections that drop into more of an illustrated book rather than comic strips in order to get through larger chucks of exposition. It doesn't break from the flow of the piece as a whole, and the art is still nicely done with characters that emote well and situations that are fun to see. It remains compelling even when all the characters are doing is roofing a house. And the story definitely isn't afraid to get dark, with implications of whole landfills of pet corpses (luckily not pictured) left in the wake of the incredibly sketchy "scientist" who makes talking animals for to act in his movies.

In the end, the project as a whole is a bit…strange. There are moments when the plot seems to hop around without a whole lot of agency on the part of the characters, but even so things remain rather fun and charming. The art is well renders and pairs very nicely with the text, and the characters themselves are relatable and nicely fleshed out. The ending is satisfying if a bit too neat for my tastes, but overall it's not a bad read. A 6.25/10.

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Reading Progress

October 5, 2015 – Started Reading
October 5, 2015 – Shelved
October 5, 2015 – Shelved as: children-s
October 5, 2015 – Shelved as: manga-graphic-novels
October 5, 2015 – Shelved as: stat_1
October 5, 2015 –
page 176
100.0% "Um...that was...a bit strange, to be honest. Some things I was really not expecting. Not bad, though. Just...kinda of strange."
October 5, 2015 – Finished Reading
November 10, 2015 – Shelved as: reviewed

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