(Comic) Book Review: Shapes and Colors (A Cul de Sac Collection)

I don’t care if you teach preschool or college or anywhere in-between. I would advise you to become a regular reader of Cul de Sac, a comic strip of such gentle humor by Richard Thompson that it will have you remembering the crazy innocence of growing up or maybe reminding you of how your students see the world, even if it is slightly skewed.

In either case, your foray into the worldview of a preschool girl — Alice Otterloop – and her older brother — Peter — will remind you (as it reminds me) that kids see the world very differently than we do as adults. As a teacher, I need that reminder. Often.

Thompson plays with perspective on all sorts of levels — in his drawings (check out dad’s undersized car), overheard conversations (where misheard words at the dinner table lead to interesting conversations), to the mysterious worlds of the kids’ teachers. And here, something as simple as a raised drain-hole cover can become the neighborhood stage for dance recitals, speeches and all sorts of drama (take that, you imagination-sucking mobile device!). It’s a world prone to dispute, but never malice. Kids here argue with the odd logic of kids, but then find a way (often with no adults involved) to resolve their differences.

Unfortunately, I only get to read Cul de Sac in my Sunday newspaper because the local daily paper doesn’t carry it (why not? why the heck not!!). I do read it online now and then, but I can’t see to fit reading of comics into my digital reading habits. I guess I have other things to read. What is wrong with me?

So, when a book collection comes out from Thompson, I snap it up. The latest is Shapes and Colors and it is a fine immersion into the warped world of childhood imagination. It’s well worth the price of admission.

Peace (in the frames),


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