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Abadazad: The Road to Inconceivable - Book #1

Abadazad: The Road to Inconceivable - Book #1

by J. M. DeMatteis, Mike Ploog (Illustrator)
Kate's little brother Matt is missing, and Kate thinks she will never see him again. But then she finds out that Matt is trapped in the world of Abadazad. Will Kate have the courage to look for her brother? And if she leaves home--will she ever return?


Kate's little brother Matt is missing, and Kate thinks she will never see him again. But then she finds out that Matt is trapped in the world of Abadazad. Will Kate have the courage to look for her brother? And if she leaves home--will she ever return?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An appealing blend of Spirited Away and The Wizard of Oz, this comics adaptation expertly blends art and text in the launch of the Abadazad series. The story unfolds through Kate's "enchanted journal." The belligerent 14-year-old is angry at her father for running out ("Dad ditched us when Matt was two and I was five"), her mother for withdrawing emotionally, and at herself for failing, five years before, to prevent her younger brother Matty's abduction. When she learns that Matty is being held prisoner in Abadazad, the magical realm that the siblings used to love reading about, she realizes she can still rescue him. Thanks to a cogent design and Ploog's deft brushwork, the paper-over-board volume distinguishes the yellowed pages of Kate's emotionally messy but honest diary from the magical tales of Abadazad. DeMatteis seamlessly weaves far-out threads into Kate's real life, such as the heroine's neighbor, Mrs. Vaughn, who turns out to be Little Martha from Abadazad ("You see, time, as we know it, doesn't exist in Abadazad," the woman explains). When events get too marvelous for words, Ploog's artwork explodes into the pages. The artist's fans may be disappointed that the comic strips seem constricted by the layout, but his full-page images demonstrate how easily he toggles between Kate's drab domicile and the splendor of Abadazad. And Kate's edginess keeps the story from feeling too saccharine. Readers may well share in the heroine's reluctant surrender to hopeful wonder. Ages 9-up. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Kristy Lyn Sutorius
Upon reading DeMatteis's second collaborative effort with Ploog, you might think your were reading a first draft of an L. Frank Baum novel discovered after all these years in a dusty attic, corrections and all. Told from the perspective of Katie, the main character, we learn that Abadazad is both a series of books that the main character, Katie, and her younger brother, Matt used to read at bedtime, and a land full of interesting creatures, magical beings, and villains accessed though a variety of portals. When Matt disappears at an amusement park, Katie throws off her childish interest in Abadazad, refusing to be absorbed in the imaginary world ever again. We find her years later, resentful and lashing out at anyone and everyone. An interaction with her neighbor, an elderly African-American woman, who claims to be the Dorothy-like main character in the Abadazad books, sends Katie on a journey to find her missing brother. Kids will be drawn to the comic book/journal/novel format, but the plot fails to stir the same emotions or intrigue as the Oz or Alice books. The very abrupt end to the story is dissatisfying, but children will find it an interesting and enjoyable read. Ploog's appealing and colorful illustrations have a Disney-esque quality. The images of Kate during the darker time in her life, vividly portray the depth of her anguish over losing her brother. Although it lacks the wow-factor of a classic, it will appeal to a librarian's fantasy lovers. Recommended for a library with a strong focus on popular materials.
Kirkus Reviews
Expanded from a well-received comic into a hybrid text-and-graphic-novel format, this first of a planned four episodes introduces sullen-but-sensitive teen diarist Kate Jameson. Still grieving five years after the mysterious disappearance of beloved little brother Matt, she finds herself transported from Brooklyn to the land of Abadazad, the distinctly Oz-like setting of a supposedly fictional series of tales with a distinctly Oz-like publishing history. In frequent illustrations that occasionally expand to take over the plot entirely for a few pages, Kate presents an appealingly homely look, with a bulbous nose and ratty hair offset by big, widely set eyes. That, plus the mix of adolescent hostility and shy vulnerability in her narrative, will win younger readers over, as will Abadazad, with its benevolent three-eyed, blue-skinned Queen, its dessert-bearing trees, odd wildlife and carnivorous Sour Flowers. Kate finds a firm friend and guide in Little Martha, brown-skinned heroine of the original metafictional tales and, receiving confirmation that Matt is alive, kidnapped by Abadazad's sinister Lanky Man, has her future course laid out. A promising start for readers between Jennifer and Matt Holms's Babymouse (2005) and Jeff Smith's Bone (2005). (Fantasy. 8-10)

Product Details

Publication date:
Abadazad , #1
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.37(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Mike Ploog has created art for a wide variety of comics, books, and movies. He apprenticed under Will Eisner at P*S Magazine; he was part of the team that created the first Scooby-Doo cartoon at Hannah Barbera; he drew pictures for Marvel's Werewolf by Night, Conan, and Planet of the Apes; and he has spent a long career as an artist for movies such as Shrek, X-Men, and Valiant. Born in Minnesota and a one-time resident of Burbank, California, Ploog lives and works in Devon, England.

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