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Graphic Novel Review 152/365: Good-bye, Chunky Rice

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or hit up #GN365 on Twitter.

No specific theme this week…just some cool books that you should know about!

Title: Good-bye, Chunky Rice 

Author(s): Craig Thompson

Publisher: Top Shelf (2002)

Age Rating: 13+

Craig Thompson is one of my favorite graphic novelists.  I was luck enough to present on the same panel with him and Gene Luen Yang at NCTE a couple of years ago about the benefits of comics and graphic novels in the classroom.  I’m happy to say, they are both great dudes!

Craig Thompson is a fellow Midwesterner, so you know I have to show him some love.  Good-bye, Chunky Rice is Thompson’s first full-length graphic novel.  Pictured about is the copy that I have, a third-printing that was published in 2002.  Good-bye, Chunky Rice is a segmented story about love, loss, and regret told around Chunky Rice, a cute little turtle.  Emotional and beautiful, Thompson works to create a tale centering around a very brief amount of time in our characters’ lives that sheds light on just how much small chunks of time can tell us about ourselves.

The book is solid black and white with the backgrounds and gutters in black and our subjects in white.  The contrast is stark and almost looks like it was made through woodcut printing.  The design elements of this book are worth checking out, especially if you dig black and white art that has an old school feel to it.

No inappropriate content here means that this book could be used in the classroom.  It’s a bit avant-garde, so be prepared for lots of student questions and frustrations.  I personally like using stories like this in the classroom because breaking the typical narrative structure for students is not a bad thing.  They need to learn that not everything always gets tied up into a neat little package.

Happy reading!

Eric

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