- Posted by Johanna on October 23, 2007 at 10:46 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Kyle Baker
- PUBLISHER: Kyle Baker Publishing; $18.95 US
The Bakers: Do These Toys Belong Somewhere? collects Kyle Baker’s family-oriented cartoons in a handsome color hardcover. The family’s based on his own, with dreadlocked daddy, organized mommy, and three adorable kids, but the humor is universal.
The gags and strips are frequently wordless, because why do you need text to show the joy of a new baby or the cleverness of a mom trying to get the balloon off the ceiling or the pain of tripping over too many toys on the floor? At least, you don’t need them if you’re as talented as Baker and can capture those particular images and feelings so beautifully.
Baker’s animation experience gives him the eye to select the perfect moment of action, so the reader knows exactly what happened before and after the slice of time shown. The color also deserves mention. It’s computer-shaded but realistic in its tones and gradients, grounding the events in a cartoon-style background.
The book’s subjects are lightweight — avoiding waking up the kids, trying to get a photo where they all look good, problems with the Tooth Fairy — but hilarious. The book is easy to pick up and put down, and it’ll be just as funny when it’s re-read months or years from now. A particular favorite is the four-page sequence that starts with Daddy telling the kids to respect Mom’s hard work and eat what she’s cooked. (As a picky eater, I could relate.) I never expected the punchline. Although it brought the family back together, how it did it was surprising… and all the more funnier as a result.
It’s humor for all ages, although parents who occasionally find their children as annoying as they are exhilarating will be the ones nodding knowingly.