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GABBY & GATOR by James Burks


by James Burks & illustrated by James Burks & developed by Yen Press

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7595-3145-1
Publisher: Yen Press

A comical and cinematic tale centers on the budding friendship between a bullied young vegetarian and a carnivorous alligator with water issues (thanks to being flushed down a toilet when small). Available for purchase and reading exclusively through the publisher’s app, this digital edition reads well enough on a tablet or PC despite being a reduced scan of the quarto paper edition. Placing his figures in clearly defined panels, Burks, an animator for Disney and other studios, uses a simply drawn cartoon style and a limited color palette to create an open, retro look suitable to the quickly moving story line. Most of the panels are wordless, and where there is dialogue it’s terse, large and legibly hand-lettered. Though two full-spread scenes require a page “turn” to view, the story is best read in portrait orientation, as all of the other panels are single-page or less, and some include written notes or printing that becomes too small to read in double-page landscape mode. Readers expecting razzle-dazzle animation should look elsewhere: The app delivers no special features beyond the ability to purchase the publisher’s manga and graphic novels in digital format. Regardless, on either paper or screen, young readers will enjoy following these unlikely partners as they help each other work through personal hang-ups while evading a Taser-wielding Animal Control officer. (iPad graphic-novel app. 6-8)