Maddy Kettle is an all-ages graphic novel or really just a kid’s book that’s fun for adults to read too. The story kicks off with Maddy on a train proclaiming an idea to share with her parents. Her parents are then revealed to be mice… talking mice. They shoot down Maddy’s idea which sends her to the roof of the train with her floating one of a kind toad named Ralph. She remembers a time before her parents were mice and the story flashes back. Spider Goblins attacked their peaceful town and for some reason the Thimblewitch turned Maddy’s parents into mice. She wants to save them, but they don’t feel a little girl can do anything. Well they’re wrong. The writing is pretty straight forward; Maddy ends up on an adventure by herself and makes friends along the way. Each new friend leads her closer and closer to the Thimblewitch. It’s a cute story and really the only moral is that you can do anything with some help and the belief that you can.
What was a bit of a let down on the story was that there are no bad guys. The Spider Goblins and the Thimblewitch do bad things (kinda), but there’s a reason for it and usually it’s because someone else wronged them first. In that regard there aren’t a lot of consequences for people’s actions as Maddy is quick to forgive and move on.
One thing the book isn’t lacking on is imagination. From cloud mapping, to a witch that shoots flowers, to a scarecrow army. There’s a bit of weirdness to the tale and sure mapping clouds doesn’t make any sense, but it’s fun and takes the reader back to a time that castles could set on clouds.
The art is what is really going to draw people in. It has a storybook quality to it, but then there’s this strange robot style for some of the creatures as well. It’s a story centered on magic and with that Eric Orchard makes the world look magical. His character/creature designs are all very unique and have an unusual style. At one point we meet a bear and a raccoon and they’re both pretty adorable looking; even Maddy’s mice parents are pretty cute little critters.
It’s a great story for kids and the message is one that is perfect for kids and parents. While adults may not get a lot of value out of reading the story multiple times, this is definitely one that the tikes can enjoy over and over.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Eric Orchard Publisher: Top Shelf Productions Price: $14.95 Release Date: 9/30/14 Format: OGN