Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

A hurricane in a skirt named Miss Acacia, a pet hamster with a very naughty name, tiny bottles filled with one's own tears, and a cameo appearance from Jack the Ripper... What's not to like?!

In Mathias Malzieu's "The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart," Jack's life depends on a clock installed in his chest. But Jack must be careful, because anger or love will break his fragile heart. Despite this danger, he journeys from Edinburgh to Andalusia in search of his beloved Miss Acacia.

This is a easy but surprisingly emotional read. Malzieu paints delightfully gorgeous and grotesque pictures with words, and his lush imagery leaves me hungry for more of his pretty words. Jack's unwavering adoration of Miss Acacia is so fairy-tale perfect that it is rather uninteresting, but Malzieu's lustrous images and amusing supporting characters make up for the dull romance. I love journeying with Jack through laboratories filled with small mysterious bottles, a twinkling 19th century Andalusian circus, and a ghost train decorated with bones dragged up from the catacombs.

Tim Burton fans will especially love the mix of frightening and romantic imagery. "The Mechanics of the Heart," an animated film based on the book, will be released in France in October 2011. I can't wait!

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P.S. All trolls will be fed to the bookworms.