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‘Clyde’ (review)

Written and Illustrated by Jim Benton
Published by Top Shelf/IDW

By way of full disclosure, I do a lot of behind the scenes work for IDW’s Yoe Books imprint. I always pass on reviewing books that I, myself, have worked on in any capacity, for Yoe or anyone else.

Here’s one they snuck in on me, though. I never heard one word about Clyde until it arrived in today’s mail, simply because IDW is kind enough to send me copies of all of the Yoe Books.

Author Jim Benton has been around quite a while now. I remember his Franny K. Stein children’s book series from my days managing bookstores.

Since then, he’s developed a reputation for reliable kid-friendly humor and Clyde, his new graphic novel, is no exception.

Clyde tells the full-color, completely illustrated story of a wannabe bad bear, his unexpected grandmother, his unlikely butterfly sidekick, and their adventures between Cubville and Grizzly City.

Although I was familiar with Benton’s work from back when my now 22-year-old son used to read some of it, I have to admit I was surprised at how genuinely funny Clyde and his friends could be, even for grown-ups.

A child’s sense of humor is very different from an adult’s and it’s always a treat when someone comes along who can make multiple generations laugh at the same thing. This book’s blurbs of praise from both MAD Magazine superstar Sergio Aragones and also Dav Pilkey, the man who gave the world Captain Underpants, would seem to indicate that Benton is one of those rare people.

And that turns out to be the case. The jokes come at a consistent pace, almost as though this was a collection of comic strips that needed a punchline every four panels. Some of the unique characters herein are inherently funny on their own, the scenes are funny, and ultimately the story is funny, too. Granted, some of that humor contains booger and fart jokes but remember, to a kid of a certain age, those are the kinds of things that have you rolling on the floor with laughter.

At the end of the day, there’s even a not so subtle moral to the story.

Good stuff. Wish I could say I worked on this one but obviously Mr. Benton managed to do a good job even without any assistance from me.

Booksteve recommends for kids from 5 to 98.


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