Thursday, 22 August 2013

Book Review: Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrorow

Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow by Katy Towell

"Adelaide Foss, Maggie Borland, and Beatrice Alfred are known by their classmates at Widowsbury's Madame Gertrude's School for Girls as "scary children." Unfairly targeted because of their peculiarities—Adelaide has an uncanny resemblance to a werewolf, Maggie is abnormally strong, and Beatrice claims to be able to see ghosts—the girls spend a good deal of time isolated in the school's inhospitable library facing detention. But when a number of people mysteriously begin to disappear in Widowsbury, the girls work together, along with Steffen Weller, son of the cook at Rudyard School for Boys, to find out who is behind the abductions. Will they be able to save Widowsbury from a sinister 12-year-old curse? " Source: Amazon

I was introcuced to "Childrin R Skary" through a friend of mine, who showed me the animations made by the author herself. Said animations have mostly one running theme:
Little scary girls and how they change the world for the better or the worse. They were quite nice to watch, though a bit badly drawn and a bit too predictable in their story, but entertaining and creative in other aspects. (That does sound worse than I inteded it to. I guess it would be best if you judge for yourselves:

Now the author has brought her ideas to paper and the result is this book. It was printed in 2011 and since I liked the ideas and the style of the videos, I purchased it. It´s a quick read (about 270 pages), it´s illustrated and it´s... genuienly entertaining, adorable, and exciting and the intended message is solid and conveyed wonderfully. 

There is little to complain about the book, since it know what it wants: The characters are charming and relateable and they have their strenghts and flaws. There have been times when I rolled my eyes at all four of the main characters, though this did not stem from BAD writing, but from GOOD writing. They were portrayed as children who have yet to find their place in the world and make mistakes because of it. All motivations were comprehensible.

The story is not ashamed to become dark and edgy while still having its cute and nice moments. It´s not complex, but also not banal. It has style and a goal. It´s simply a enjoyable, gloomy adventure.

An illustration from the book

My only real problem with the book is... it´s illustrations. It´s not like the author did not try, the pictures are a huge step upward from the animation. But - and I know I´m being full of myself here - if you can count the mistakes that you used to make just a few years ago in every illustration, it kind of takes you out of the experience. Buuut: It´s always clear what is meant to be expressed and for someone less nitpicky than me, the illustrations might not be a problem at all.

I recommend the book especially to adolescents and children that are into vampires, werewolfs and gothis culture anyways (provided they can read English) and to adults who can appreciate a lovely told, eerie, little story. Apart from that you can get a first impression with the animations, of course. If you like what you´ve seen there, you will love the book.

- Nekromantenhase

Copyright to "Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow" and all related pictures shown in this entry belong to Katy Towell and the Knopf Books for Young Readers.
Said pictures are hosted and shown under the right of review.

Monday, 5 August 2013


Erst einmal habe ich nicht so gute Nachrichten:
Das diesjährige Schattenspiele wird leider das letzte sein.
Auch wenn wir gerne miteinander arbeiten, gehen unsere Vorstellungen für das Projekt zu stark auseinander, um weiterhin Bestand zu haben. Wir arbeiten prima in Dous, aber aus irgend einem Grund nicht in Trios *mit den Schultern zuckt* Cést la vie!

Aus diesem Grund und anderen bin ich (Nekromantenhase) nun Leiterin des Projekts und der letzen Ausgabe, während die anderen auf freiwilliger Basis mitmachen können.
Bisher habe ich Zusagen von drei Comic-Zeichnern, dass sie gerne ein Werk beisteuern würden.
Das Werk steht auf etwas wackeligeren Beinen als sonst, aber es steht, ist, was ich sagen will.

Aber weiter zum Comic:

"Soil" was intended as a stylistic take on the artstyle "Art Nouveau" or "Jugendstil" of the 1920´s. A horror story that is chilling, but also beautiful to look at. It was also the first comic to be drawn for Schattenspiele 2012. The Comic, unfortunately, fell flat on different levels, in my opinion: 
First, I should have looked at Art Nouveau and it´s stylistic elements more closely before starting to draw, as the similarities start out at zero percent and reach maye 10% at best on the latter pages. 
Second: I should have added text, since the pictures alone can´t carry it on it´s own, at least not the way I portrayed it, it´s too abstract. 

Basically, what´s up is this: The white cherry trees shown start bleeding when rain falls unto them and said blood sips through the skin of creatures that rest below it, infecting them. The woman stands up, but falls down quickly and seemingly dies, when in reality, she turns into a tree herself. Years later a couple shows up and picks some cherries, only for the woman to realize, that they taste like blood and the man to cut one up to see the silhouette of a baby instead of a pit inside. 

The story is not designed to make sense on a narrative level, it´s more a contemplation on the merging of two pictures: The tree and the woman. Blood streams that are twigs, (the third panel of page four is trying to emulate upside-down lungs growing out of her chest (GETIT?)), tree sap as blood and fruits as... well... embryoes.

Fun fact: There is tree called "blood cherry" in German :D