Peach Fuzz Volume 1
Nine-year-old Amanda selects a ferret as her first pet. Mom is concerned about the danger; it seems that ferrets like to nip until they’re trained not to. Amanda talks her mom into it, with the understanding that she’ll have to return the pet if it bites her. Peach views Amanda’s hand reaching into her cage as a five-headed monster attacking her, so of course, she bites back.
Based on the premise, Peach Fuzz should have been more enjoyable than it was. Both Amanda and Peach are cute, and the authors, by Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges, clearly know how ferrets look and act. However, the themes are mixed. If we root for the character we see most often, Peach, then we’re hoping to see her continue to misbehave. If we root for Amanda teaching Peach how to behave, then most of the material is irrelevant or mistargeted.
Instead of seeking help, Amanda hides her problem from her mother and keeps getting hurt. Early on, she almost kills her new pet through rough handling, but all anyone learns from the experience is that vet bills are expensive (even though the vet is shown as clueless and doesn’t actually do anything). The mother is clearly supposed to care about her daughter, but we most often see her complaining about spending more money. It’s not as three-dimensional a portrayal as I would have liked.
It’s often understandable why Peach would want to nip; Amanda treats her badly, and no one’s supervising her or teaching her how to properly care for another living thing. Sure, the situations make for humor, but it would be nice to see a bit more acknowledgment that there’s a better way.
For example, coming home from the pet store, Amanda lets the ferret loose in the car, almost causing an accident. Then, as soon as they get home, Amanda lets the ferret loose in the house, where she promptly runs away and causes more trouble. You’d think someone would have learned from the first situation not to let the pet out of its box yet.
To justify the fantasy sequences of Peach as a warrior princess, Amanda keeps teasing the ferret and making her fight stuffed animals. No wonder she’s got a angry, misbehaving pet! There’s a lot of potential in this premise, but the book would have benefited from some experienced editing to tighten the story and check the messages sent. I’m old enough to know that one shouldn’t treat animals the way Amanda does, but I’m not sure about the recommended all ages audience.
Peach Fuzz was the winning entry in Tokyopop’s second Rising Stars of Manga talent contest. The artists have a website.