The Lost Colony: Snodgrass Conspiracy Bk. 1 Paperback – 19 May 2006
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Review in 3/15/06 issue of BooklistGr. 10-12. Historical and contemporary American racial, economic, and social issues lie at the heart of this witty, sophisticated, candy-colored adventure, set in a utopian island community. Bertha (Birdy) Snodgrass, preadolescent daughter of the town banker, throws in her lot with a shady Chinese Mexican wizard, his golem-like assistant, and, finally, with Louis the slave. Readers with a grasp of pre-Jamestown history will have the easiest time understanding the riffs on Puritanism and the various American hypocrisies woven into this story. Racial and cultural slurs are buried beneath the surface of character interactions, and no ethnic group is spared. That, of course, is the point: to see oneself as a possible victim of prejudice, or, like Birdy, work toward changing things and make friends with people who are different. Teens (especially those enrolled in advanced-placement American history classes) as well as many adults will find a lot to enjoy and think about in this brash, fantastic tale--and they will look forward to other volumes in the planned series.Review in June 2006 issue of VOYA5Q/3P. Life is good in the little community on the Island until Mr. Stoop stumbles onto the place and start putting up posters about the slave auction in a nearby port. Everyone wants to have a word with the newcomer, whether to work with him or to drug him and ship him back to the mainland. Little Miss Birdy, daughter of Governor Snodgrass, follows Mr. Stoop back to the mainland and 3buys Louis John. He talks her into freeing him, and the two sneak out of town. Meanwhile Governor Snodgrass is plotting with Rex Carter, a mad inventor who has created a machine that will be better than any slave. When the machine gets into the wrong hands, wacky hijinks ensue, building up to a climax that has more punch than a drunken weasel. At first glance, this novel appears to be a cartoony rendition of America in the nineteenth century, but it quickly proves to be chock full of insight into the controversies of the past. The messages are hidden in plain sight as Klein uses his pictures to tell the real story behind all the words of the characters. A zany cast of slaves, ex-slaves, capitalists, opportunists, inventors, and just plain regular folk lead the way through this colorful and delightful tale. It would be a fantastic addition to public and most school libraries.
About the Author
Grady Klein is an award-winning freelance illustrator, designer and animator. His work, which includes the animated short Dust Bunny, has appeared in print and on screen all over the world. The Lost Colony is his first book.
Top Customer Reviews
There exists, beyond the Frontier of the Old West, an island. Here, if you find the island at all, you will find a Lost Colony, a ragtag huddle of escapees and frontiersmen who have found solace on it's curious soil, should they prove no threat to the place...
Full of strange and oddball fellows, some of whom don't get along at all, we have 'civilisation' coming head-to-head with the 'Wilderness' and a mythology of it's own come to life. What will become of them?
The artwork is pretty distinctive and really makes the flavor of the graphic novels stand out with it's bold character lines and sweeps of landscaping colour. It's an enjoyable style, sometimes subtle somehow, othertimes in your face, but only appropriately, with cartoonish figures living down to earth existances (if with a touch of magic or madness). It's what caught my eye in the first place.
By the time of the third installment the curious nature of the island has been revealed somewhat and how the folk living on the island are affected by it shows through with greater clarity. We have the fresh intrusion of insidious foes, as well as the consequences of the eradication of old ones.
I love anything with a supernatural or fantasical element to it - it makes a story more alive and real than drudgery-in-mud type plots - and the Lost Colony has it for sure.Read more ›
With that out of the way, it has to be said that the storyline is a little disorienting. A stranger arrives in town, having crossed over on the small ferry which links the island village to the mainland. His task is apparently to advertise (via posters) an impending slave auction in the nearby city of Port Succor. The young daughter of the town's banker, Birdy Snodgrass, is keen to buy a slave to take over her household chores. Her father, meanwhile, waxes on about various vague financial "shenanigans" whose relevance to the plot is rather unclear. However, the town's Chinese-Mexican pharmacist/alchemist, Dr. Pepe Wong, is keen to erase the stranger's mind so that the village's existence remains unknown. Unfortunately, he entrusts this task to his huge Frankenstein-like helper, a strongman who has a talent for messing up simple tasks (these two characters are reminiscent of Getafix and Obelix from the Asterix series). Eventually Birdy makes it to Port Succor and has various adventures, culminating in her acquisition of a storytelling slave boy. Meanwhile, Dr.Read more ›