a review in headlines:
AUSTRALIA TO ANIMALS: TRY TO STAY ALIVE, CHUMPS!
TOO MANY SNAKES! VIGILANTE MASTIFF VOWS TO REDUCE OUTBACK’S SNAKE POPULATION TO HONOR FALLEN MASTER
QUOKKAS: THEY’RE JUST LIKE US!
this is the fifth book in the LOVE series, each installment a beautifully-illustrated wordless story focused on a particular animal; sort of a day-in-the-life-of-nature, depicting the challenges of surviving within various ecosystems: predator v prey, animal v man, nature v climate change, etc.
the struggle is real.
an argument can (and HAS) been made that brrémaud is more interested in drawing a bunch of different animals than with telling a specific story, but when you draw as well as he does, i think you should be able to do what you like without reproach.*
i mean, look at this platypus shaking itself off like a puppy!
look at this mama kangaroo defending her joeys!
look at this koala fighting off a bird!
look at this baby-roo slapfight!
look at this wombat getting its butt bitten by a dingo!
there is a story here, but like all the other books, it strays from its titular creature and takes a widescreen approach, showing off the sometimes brutal way nature goes about its business.
like any nature documentary, they are always equal parts lovely and upsetting, and i, for one, never feel betrayed when brrémaud drifts from the ostensible center of the story to see what’s happening elsewhere—detours are opportunities.
opportunities for quokkas!
* remembering only now that federico bertolucci is the one with the art credit on these, so i guess brrémaud just lounges around in his bathrobe waving his hands around magisterially, intoning “now we see the platypus rising from the water whilst a kestrel looks on,” like sir david attenborough and bertolucci must scribble furiously to keep up. here, too, the struggle is real.