Bel Reviews: Kylie Chan's - "Small Shen"
I was blown away by the beauty in just those graphite suggestions, and I’m pretty sure I did a happy dag dance right there on the spot next to Kylie, in public, at a signing. ~I apologise to the people of Carindale~ The thought of one of my favourite local authors being immortalised in a graphic novel was truly something that made me smile from ear to ear.
Though I’d never heard of Queenie Chan at the time, I’d fallen instantly in love with her work. Stepping forward (I’m pretty sure it’s been close to 18 months almost 2 years later) and I’ve now seen her work holding it’s own on Yunyu’s Twisted Tales tour in early 2012; making me want this book to become a reality all the more.
There may or may not have been a shimmering light and a choir of angels heralding the moment I finally sat down and opened Small Shen for the first time in the final days of 2012. Can you tell I was excited?
And the verdict is… Oh my goodness if you don’t own this book get yourself one, and buy one for a friend.
The thing I love probably above most things is it is a combination of well thought out and beautiful graphic novel and genuinely lovely storytelling. How can you not love a great story and pretty pictures of characters you’d only previously seen in your head.
If you haven’t read Kylie’s books it now allows you to make the decision of if you want to start the series where the rest of us did with White Tiger, or getting a jump on us all and starting with Small Shen.
That’s right, it’s a prequel. It leads you from 1720AD up into the opening scenes of White Tiger. We hop backwards and forwards through time and learn delightful details about what makes many of the characters tick.
The flow is a little stilted by the time change, but it works because there is no question of what era you’re in. The characterisation is flawless and is enhanced ten fold by Queenie’s eye for detail.
I had this book done in under a day and it took some serious self control to not take it along with me when hitting the after Christmas sales to read in the queues.
Both Kylie and Queenie are masters of their respective crafts and Harper Voyager must have had a genius day when they allowed the idea to become an actuality.
I’m putting my request in now for a colouring book of Kylie’s characters drawn by Queenie. Even big kids love to grab the crayons every now and again.
So the only question that remains… and Kylie literally gets this at least a hundred times or more at every signing…
When’s the next book coming out?!
Published December 1st 2012 by HarperCollinsPublishers Australia
ISBN 0732289831 (ISBN13: 9780732289836)