Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection by Dembicki, Matt (ed.), and Various Artists. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Books, 2010. 231 pages.
1. A succinct evaluative annotation. Plot: Because there are 21 stories, there are a variety of different plots that happen in this novel. The majority of the stories, though, talk about a moral, or lesson, in life. The tricksters do something they aren’t supposed to, learn what they did wrong in their actions, and should learn from their mistakes, but since they are tricksters, they really will probably do the same actions again, only a little bit smarter about the outcomes. The ending of the stories, though, teach the reader a lesson of life and try to explain why something is the way it is today – through the story that was just told. Sometimes it might work, other times it might just be a fun story to read when one has free time. Theme: This book has a few themes, including learning lessons, finding out the meaning of certain aspects of life, and also, understanding a different culture (Native American culture). Tone: The tone of this novel is very fun and upbeat. The stories are about learning a lesson, but they also have a few funny moments when one of the characters does something unexpected and humorous for the reader to laugh about because they can relate it to their own lives one way or another. Style: The author’s writing style of this book is in a storytelling way. The tribes that the editor was able to get the stories from told the story the way they have always performed the story, and that was how the story was portrayed in this novel. Also, the illustrations were very precise and imaginative to get the reader’s creativity flowing when reading this novel. Characterizations: Many of the characters in this novel (21 stories overall) were tricksters and learned their just deserves in the short story. There was a moral to the story and overall the tricksters didn’t learn their lesson, but will more than likely do the same actions at a later date. Readability: This was very, very easy to read. Anyone who has a few minutes to space can pick up this book and read a story or two for pure enjoyment.
2. My reactions to the book. I’ve never read a graphic novel before, so this was a great experience. Not only was I able to read the Native American stories that were told in the tribes and were passed down through generations, but I was able to see the story from the graphics that the artists drew to correlate with the stories. That is one of the major strengths of this novel – being able to have different artists draw the story in a way to understand the traditional story. The only weakness I can think of is that for new graphic novel readers, trying to figure out exactly which section of the book to read after the previous one is a little tricky, but not too hard. The stories are very accurate – the editor made note of going to different tribes and asking their permission to use the stories that are very real to them and putting them into his collection of tales.
3. Comment on the cover art. The cover art of this novel is very unique. Because it’s a graphic novel, it is appropriate that the cover should be drawn as another graphic. However, I think it’s a mixed signal. There is a rabbit on the cover, but there are 21 stories in this book that are about many different animals or characters. I think a more variety of characters would have been better for the cover to attract a broader audience.