BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Piero by Edmond Baudoin, translated by Matt Madden [in Booklist]

Twenty years since its original French publication, Edmond Baudoin’s autobiographical homage to his older brother, Piero, and their shared childhood makes its English-language debut, admiringly translated by cartoonist Matt Madden. Growing up between Nice, where their father worked, and Villars-sur-Var (“our Mom’s village, our village”), the brothers were “always together” to enjoy canoe and alien adventures and Baudoin “learned how to draw with Piero.”

Piero’s whooping cough delayed formal schooling, which required adaptation and negotiation; “it’s a little dumb to grow up,” the brothers agreed. Adulthood inevitably arrived, as one brother-artist quit and the other brother-artist-to-be kept dreaming.

Referring to Baudoin as “[a]n ink-stained Proust,” Madden writes astutely about the septuagenarian comics legend in his introduction, illuminating details even Baudoin-groupies might not know. For example, Baudoin’s “trademark virtuosic brush art,” Madden explains, is replaced here by “the busy, scratching and scribbling lines of a Rotring ArtPen, presumably to emulate the ballpoint pens and pencils with which the young protagonists [were] constantly drawing.” For newbies and aficionados alike, this artistic remembrance-of-things-past should prove poignantly compelling.

Review: “Graphic Novels,” Booklist, January 1, 2019

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2018 (United States)


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