By Chris Wilson
Author & Illustrator: Monty S. Kane
Publisher: Planet Saturday
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Color: Black and white
“M” is a 30-something balding man with a wife, a daughter and an active imagination. He shares his childhood and fatherhood experiences with us all, allowing us to live his touching – but mostly goofy – life with him.
We explore Emory’s imaginative childhood as he digs up his family’s backyard looking for dinosaur bones, his playtime pretending to be a caveman, his dreams to be Gene Simmons from KISS, and his attempts to evade bullies.
Intertwined in these events, Emory (known in adulthood as “M”) brings the stories full circle as he watches his daughter grow, live and experience life.
Every moment is quirky and yet it is somehow a story that is well known. His old age and uncoolness are geek-chic, hysterical and make perfect sense to me. It all depends on your perspective.
I read this book and thought of my relationship with my daughter and the fun times we have as she sprints halfway to the door before announcing we are in a race. Like M, I remember the times when I used to toss my girl in the air and I also finally came to a place where she was too big and I was too old to continue that activity. I exclaimed, “That’s me!” when M stood by the window in his underpants while the daughter could see him through the front glass. There’s nothing better than embarrassing your kid with your total lack of coolness. I frequently sing, dance and generally act nuts when my daughter has friends over. M gets it. I know he does. He gets me, and my relationship with my sweet cub.
It’s those kinds of connections to a book that make the art of reading worthwhile. The payoff with PLANET SATURDAY COMICS is well worth twice the price of the book.
Monty S. Kane’s illustrations are clear black and white images that bleed through with figurative color in form of memories and connections. His art drives the story and most importantly, the feelings of the reader. His images convey so much emotion in the most simplistic and comfortable way. It gives the feeling that we know M, that he is our best friend who is telling us stories around the kitchen table.
Chris’ Rating: Ages 8 and older
PLANET SATURDAY COMICS is perfectly appropriate for anyone. However, I think the content is more grown-up fare, as kids’ experiences are more limited, although I think they would relate to the sections when M sings and his daughter is disgusted by his geekdom.
This book takes life experience to really understand. At least it seems that way to me. I suspect that is because it is from the father’s perspective. There is no reason whatsoever that a child could not read it. They just may not get it, as children really aren’t the key audience.
There is absolutely nothing herein to be concerned about.
IN THE CLASSROOM
While I would not really use PLANET SATURDAY COMICS, in its entirety, with elementary children, I do think that certain sections could be used to talk about audience, perspective and voice. Kane’s style (in the sense of the five elements of fiction: character, plot, setting, theme and style) is distinct and unique in the comic world. He has carved out a niche with a particular audience in mind.
Recommended: I recommend this text especially to talk about audience, perspective, voice and style with kids and teens. I highly recommend the book for adults, especially fathers of young children.