Little Lit's Best of 2001
Editors Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly have packed so much top-notch talent into this flabbergastingly funny all-ages comic collection that you'll have a terrible time deciding what to read first. Just as with the previous Little Lit book, Folklore & Fairy Tale Funnies, you'll find some of the most hilarious, intelligent, and diverse short comics around inside these pages: Maurice Sendak's omnivorous infant gobbles up everything in sight in "Cereal Baby Keller"; David Sedaris pairs up with Ian Falconer to define true cuteness; "Where's Waldo?" creator Martin Handford searches for old socks; Paul Auster (yes, that Paul Auster) and Jacques de Loustal's offering follows a man who's found he's disappeared; Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon) brings back the beginning of his classic '40s strip, "Barnaby" (a favorite of Duke Ellington and Dorothy Parker, among others); and Spiegelman himself takes on "The Several Selves of Selby Sheldrake." And that's not even the half of it. This downright quirky collection will charm comic fans of all ages--and, no doubt, make fans out of those who weren't already. Even the endpapers are funny, thanks to Kaz of "Underworld." (All ages after 9 or so) --Paul Hughes

From Publishers Weekly
Once upon a time, picture books got parental approval and pulp comics were a sneaky pleasure. In this sequel to Little Lit, Spiegelman and Mouly create a hybrid of the two that may well appeal to oddballs of all ages. Charles Burns leads the charge with his high-impact cover image of an alien reading a boy's space comics. The alien has kewpie-doll eyes and a puppyish nose, but its sinewy muscles and lurid green skin pack a perverse threat. In the endpapers, which suggest a pulp-mag correspondence course, Underworld author Kaz offers "Strange Cartoon Lessons" cards ("Bad at drawing legs? Put your character behind a desk"). After these engaging diversions, the treasury trots out stories from the funny-ha-ha to the funny-strange, many dealing with secret identities. Spiegelman invents a boy whose moods materialize as clones; Jules Feiffer's anxiety-prone child gets "Trapped in a Comic Book"; and Jacques de Loustal and Paul Auster collaborate on a melancholy Kafka-esque noir tale. As the title promises, some of the material is disturbing. Maurice Sendak's punny "Cereal Baby Keller" reprises his violent sketch of a ravenous baby that eats its parents; Ian Falconer and David Sedaris team for a gruesome story of a monster that flips inside-out because "Real beauty is on the inside." More benign picks include an exhausting maze game by Lewis Trondheim, and Barbara McClintock's buoyant story of a shadow that breaks loose. A lengthy reprint of Crockett Johnson's Barnaby strip seems misplaced here, but its airy layout and square panels are a strong counterpoint to the condensed, offbeat material. This compendium, with its stellar group of comix and picture-book literati, revels in its dark side and suggests that "strange kids" are the mainstream. All ages.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
Grades 3-6--As they did in Little Lit: Folklore and Fairy Tale Funnies (HarperCollins, 2000), Spiegelman and Mouly have drawn on the talents of major cartoonists and illustrators, who render their art in comic-book format to produce a collection of truly bizarre and intriguing tales. There are contributions from Maurice Sendak, Ian Falconer, Jules Feiffer, the late Crockett Johnson, and a host of others. The stories run the gamut from the mildly quirky-such as Barbara McClintock's fanciful tale of a shadow that takes off on its own-to darker, more disturbing selections such as Jacques de Loustal and Paul Auster's "The Day I Disappeared," in which a man separated from his physical being must rescue himself from drowning. The stories all possess a sharp intelligence and unique imagination, and the innovative use of an old format will entice both reluctant and enthusiastic readers to return again and again. Give this to kids who love Jon Scieszka's type of humor and are ready for the next step.
Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-up. In this follow-up to their excellent Little Lit: Folklore & Fairy Tale Funnies (2000), Spiegelman and Mouly offer another collection of wildly original graphic stories from well-known contributors. This volume emphasizes the surreal. There's Spiegelman's bizarre story of a boy whose multiple personalities appear when he picks his nose. And there's Maurice Sendak's "Baby Keller," an omnivorous man-child who eats everything, including his parents. Teens (and adults) will like the stylish, ironic seek-and-find that directs readers to search for "Hiccupping Ghost" and "Big Idea Stuck in a Tree"; other stories, such as Ian Falconer and David Sedaris' hilarious "Pretty Ugly," will delight younger children. A few entries, such as Crockett Johnson's tale, seem out of place among the other edgy choices. But whether the stories are elegant fantasies, grotesque horror, or gross-out humor, they will excite readers of many ages with their range of styles and visual possibilities. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved