Continuing on through the alphabet in my quest to read every book in Eiseley Library, I stumbled upon author and illustrator Jon Agee. I’d heard of him before, read a review of his book The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau–but I’d never read anything of his before.
Unfortunately, my library didn’t have a copy of The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau when I was perusing the stacks–but it did have plenty of other fascinating pieces by Agee.
Agee illustrates in a blocky, just been sketched manner which I find innocently appealing–but it’s the stories that I enjoy the most. Agee’s stories aren’t fantasy, fluffy children’s stories. They’re slightly silly but otherwise relatively realistic stories which include both the young and the old. The stories are well written enough to be enjoyable for adults, and just ridiculous enough to be enjoyable for kids.
The Retired Kid tells the story of 8-year-old Brian who, tired of the hard work of being a kid, goes into an early retirement. He flies off to a retirement community in Florida, where he meets a fantastic collection of old folks. He enjoys certain aspects of retirement (card games, golf, fishing, and movies)–but discovers that other parts are not so fun (prune juice smoothies, knitting classes, and weekly checkups.) He starts to think about the hard work of being a kid–and realizes that maybe his job isn’t quite so bad.
In Terrific, a grumpy old man named Eugene wins an all-expenses-paid cruise to Bermuda. His response is “Terrific. I’ll probably get a really nasty sunburn.” When Eugene’s ship is shipwrecked and he is stranded, he announces “Terrific”–and comes up with an even more pessimistic prediction for his future. But in the end, Eugene discovers something that is truly terrific–and this time, he’s not being sarcastic.
When Suzie Gump, the richest lady in town, asks Otis what’s on sale in his shop, he looks around and announces “Uh, nothing.” Suzie is eager to snatch it up, whatever the cost, starting a city-wide craze for buying nothing. Shopkeepers throw out all their best goods to make room for more nothing. Eventually, though, something will come back in style–and Otis’ll be ready when it happens!
I’ll be definitely keeping my eyes open for more Agee–his stories are a lot of fun!
Carrie at Reading to Know did an author highlight of Jon Agee when she was going through the AG’s.