Monday, March 31, 2008

The Yellow Jar by Patrick Atangan

book 2 of 4 for the Once Upon a Time II Challenge

This book is truly a work of art. Atangan's art is amazing - nearly every frame could be an 18th century Japanese woodblock print. The style of his drawings transports you to ancient Japan where you first follow the story of a fisherman's quest to save his wife (whom he found inside the yellow jar of the title) from a demon warrior. The second story is of a gardener who mistakes two beautiful flowers for weeds and learns his lesson in the end.

I liked the stories themselves because they are familiar - yet with a definite eastern flavor. The farmer, while plain at first, becomes a hero in the end. The gardener doesn't see what's under his nose. You still get the same messages about honesty and faithfulness, courage and rewards. I suppose by changing a few words or characters they could be any Disney story - but the artwork and those subtle variations make for a more flavorful book. The writing wasn't particularly thrilling (a bit too dry for younger readers, I'd say) but the stories were well told. In the end, though, it was the author's mastery of Japanese style that made this book a winner for me.

A fine taste of Japanese folklore and artwork. Left me wanting more. In fact, I just found out that Atangan has done two more books: one of Chinese folktales and one of folktales from India. And for your viewing pleasure, some art :)

5 comments:

Cath said...

That looks incredibly beautiful. I love the way blogging introduces you to books you never knew existed. Nice review.

DesLily said...

I couldn't have said it better than Cath did!.. especially for those of us who rarely get to leave the house. Book places like amazon are great, but it's the bloggers like you that really get to "show and tell" books we'd not get to see at all.

Carl V. said...

Wow, that art is amazing. Reading your review made me think of the way Mike Mignola has briefly tapped into Asian folklore in a few of his Hellboy stories. I'm so glad you read and reviewed this for the challenge as it is certainly a unique book and quite beautiful.

Melissa said...

YAY! A new graphic novel to explore. Thanks!

Nymeth said...

That looks beautiful! I must try to get my hands on it. Thanks for the lovely review.

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