Title: The Smurfs Anthology (Vol 1) | Author & Illustrator: Peyo | Publication Date: June 25, 2013 | Publisher: Papercutz | Pages: 195 | Recommended Ages: 7+ | Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Summary: When the Belgian cartoonist Peyo created a village of cute little woodland creatures for his heroes Johan and Peewit to discover, he couldn’t have known that they would wildly outgrow those humble origins to become a worldwide phenomenon all on their own. More than 50 years later, The Smurfs continue to delight us all with their silliness, bravery, heroism, and heart, and now we finally have a definitive collection of Peyo’s original comics to see where it all began.
My Thoughts: When I was a tween attending a French school and library time rolled around, I would head straight to the shelf where those big, sturdy hardcover comic books were located and I would grab any of the numerous “Schtroumpfs” books. I read them all and I loved them! I don’t know if it’s the fantastical nature of these mystical creatures, the diversity in personality types and how their individual characteristics were depicted as strengths, or the on-going battle between the overly optimistic Smurfs and the evil Gargamel (and the even more evil cat Azrael); but, something just captured my imagination.
This particular anthology contains six “Smurfy” stories including the very first one, “Les Schtroumpfs Noirs”. Interestingly, the “black” (used to depict an angry Smurf) was rooted in the history of the Bubonic/Black Plague of the 14th Century but when the Smurfs were first animated in the 1980’s, the color was changed to purple to avoid offending anyone. This won’t be a rapid review if I keep rambling! Moving on…
The illustrations are fantastic and each frame’s illustrations are deceptively simple so that when gazing at the entire page, it doesn’t look “busy”. The only comment I have is that the writing in the speech and thought bubbles is quite small (of course it doesn’t help that I’m now reading them with my non-tween-aged eyes!). Each story is quite lengthy but there are humorous moments, moments filled with tension, poignant moments, and even ironic moments. The stories are filled with sub-text that only an adult would pick up on, thus making the books enjoyable for both children and adults.
The Smurfs Anthology is a treasure and for those of us nostalgic for some of the books and comics we read as tweens, we have Papercutz to thank for pulling together not 1 but 3 Smurf Anthologies (Volume 3 coming in August, 2014) containing multiple “Smurf” stories in each. For the record, my kids LOVED the anthology and if they see it lying around, they will pick it up and read parts of a story. Ages 7+
Other Reviews of the Smurf’s Anthology (Vol 1)
* This book was provided to me by the publisher free-of-charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. *