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Panel Mania: The Heart-Stealing Whimsy of ‘The Kurdles’

A lovely all-ages story in the latest column at Publisher's Weekly.

A gorgeous story of an abandoned teddy bear that finds her way to a new home and new friends - super suitable for all ages and I adore it!

Robert Goodin’s debut graphic novel is a charming blend of Enid Blyton whimsy and Moominvalley strangeness, as an abandoned teddy bear stumbles upon a magical new home. The Kurdles is a gorgeous all-ages comic that will steal the hearts of every reader.

Goodin is best known for his storyboard work in the animation industry, most notably for American Day, The Wild Thornberrys, and Rugrats, and his previous short underground comic, The Man Who Loved Breasts, won acclaim from adult audiences.

The Kurdles is perhaps a better reflection of his all-ages storytelling proficiency, conjuring up a vibrant cast of delightful characters, from an adorable and no-nonsense teddy bear to a unicorn and a dog-owning five-legged pentapus. When Sally the bear is tossed from a car window by a screaming child, she resolves to find her way home, adventuring her way instead to Kurdleton, a dreamy forest home that every child surely dreamed of finding one day.

Her new friends are dealing with a severe crisis – Kurdleton has sprouted hair, big eyes, and a mouth, and legs may not be far behind. Sally and the new creatures work to save their home, and Sally learns the real meaning of friendship and love.

Opening in the rain that punctuates Sally’s abandonment, Goodin uses a varying panel structure to terrific effect, reinforcing the monotony of Sally’s life as well as modifying the pace at moments of action. Children will be pleased to realise that when Sally’s life literally crashes into the ground, no damage is done, while parents will be reassured that scary moments turn into a meeting of new friends, alongside a strong message that it pays to take the time to understand those different from ourselves.

The oversized hardback emphasises the beautiful hand-painted watercolour pages throughout, calling to mind childhood picture books of old and fantastical dreams of soft toys adventuring in the magical forests of the mind. It’s a quirky and gentle tale, with laugh out moments a plenty, and an absolute joy to read – with or without children!

The Kurdles is destined to be both a favourite bedtime story, and a classic for the ages.

Read the full preview here: The Heart-Stealing Whimsy of 'The Kurdles'

The Kurdles

The Kurdles