Not too long ago I reviewed a book about Winsor McCay, titled Wide Awake in Slumberland (you can see that review here). Fortuitous timing as I would otherwise not understand the background for this beautiful graphic novel, Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland.
King Morpheus’ daughter, the Princess of Slumberland, is looking for a new playmate. The person chosen is one James Nemo Summerton. He is chosen because his middle name is the same as the young lad who visited Slumberland and the princess many years before.
This Nemo is hesitant to leave the safety of his bed, and is definitely not interested in playing with a girl, even if she is a princess, but does reluctantly agree to leave. There are a number of false starts as Nemo wakes up on his journey to Slumberland, sending back home to his room. And once, when he doesn’t wake, he winds up sidetracked by Flip Flap. But as Nemo learns to have fun in Slumberland he can hardly wait to go back to sleep to have more fun.
Let me say that the artwork here, by Gabriel Rodriguez, is stunning. It perfectly captures the beauty and the whimsy of McCay’s original works but adds a modern eloquence. The detailed pictures, with thick, bold lines, and bright colors is wonderful, but it’s the playfulness and use of panel-flowing-into panel that reminds me of McCay.
The story is generally simple (again, evocative of Winsor McCay) but allows for the simple fun to move forward. I really enjoyed how James Nemo Summerton has no idea what or where Slumberland is — that he is not the same Nemo from the earlier books, whereas those in Slumberland may be the same.
This is a book that I want to run out and buy and put in the hands of young readers. The story should grab them and the art will captivate. It’s the sort of book that could easily get non-readers interested in books while those of us who already love books, will want to have this on the shelf.
Looking for a good book? Return to Slumberland is a return to a time when comics were fun. Simple but beautiful, this is a graphic novel that will appeal to readers of all ages.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland
author: Eric Shanower
artist: Gabriel Rodríguez
publisher: IDW Publishing
paperback, 88 pages