On YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2015 List
On an ordinary day in the countryside, Philemon falls into a well on his father's farm and lands... in the Atlantic Ocean?! He begins a wild and whimsical journey through a fantasy world as original as Alice's Wonderland, as richly imagined as Little Nemo's Slumberland, and as exciting to explore as Oz.
About the Author
Frédéric Othon Aristidès (1931-2013), known as Fred, is one of France's most influential and revered cartoonists. When he was young, he loved to read Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and Oscar Wilde. In the sixties, Fred co-founded Hara-Kiri, the leading satirical publication of the May '68 movement--he designed its first 60 covers. Philémon, his story for young readers, was first published in Pilote in 1972 by René Goscinny, the author of the Astérix series. Philémon is Fred's most celebrated creation: millions of young French people have grown up with it, and it has inspired many of today's most talented cartoonists. The sixteenth and final volume of Philémon was released in 2013, before Fred's passing.
A charming French import... In a market teeming with graphic-fantasy tales, this offering is remarkably imaginative and refreshingly different. Bright colors emblazon each page, with some spreads so vibrant they almost hurt to look at, and many of the architectural shapes pleasingly recall Dr. Seuss. Not since Carroll's Alice has there been such a marvelous and incredible adventure. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Fans of fantasy and adventure classics, such as Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth, will feel right at home. Fred’s surreal and dreamlike drawings really bring the world to life, and his attention to detail is evident on every page. Vivid, psychedelic colors make the illustrations pop and match the mood of the crazy world that he has created. ... A good additional purchase for those looking to build their graphic novel collections for middle graders. —School Library Journal
Translated into English here for the first time, this 1972 work from Fred offers visual and conceptual fireworks as an enterprising farmer’s son named Philemon dives into a well and washes up on an island. ... Fred’s drafting and visual storytelling skills are exceptional. ... Fans of Franco-Belgian comics will be both delighted and inspired. —Publishers Weekly
Fred’s small panels are densely packed with swirling lines, elaborate tableaux, and cartoonish figures, all in a rich, jewel-tone palette. Combining the line work of Hergé’s Tintin with Dr. Seuss’ wacky figure style, this offbeat adventure story should be a great fit for middle- grade comic-book fans. —Booklist
This wild graphic novel adventure, which integrates Greek mythology references, offers food for thought and a feast for the eyes. —Shelf Awareness
Halfway between the humorous near-realism of Tintin and the hallucinatory Little Nemo in Slumberland, the book will be very entertaining for kids. —Icv2 (starred review)
Philemon is my new favorite companion. He's brave, resourceful, and knows what to do when attacked by a lamp. —Lemony Snicket
A classic for absurdists of all ages! —Art Spiegelman
Fantastic, smart, mind-expanding reading! —Jon Scieszka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man
The best kind of comics: a boy, his talking donkey, nonstop escapades and funny drawings! —Jeff Smith, author of Bone
A madcap tale you'll want to read again and again! —Frank Cammuso