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Cast Away on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure (A Toon Graphic)
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Cast Away on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure (A Toon Graphic)

4.0 1
by Fred (Illustrator)
 

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"Philemon is my new favorite companion. He’s brave, resourceful, and he knows what to do when attacked by a lamp." — Lemony Snicket

On an ordinary day in the countryside, Philemon falls into a well on his father’s farm and lands . . . on the Atlantic Ocean — literally on an A-shaped island complete with unicorns, centaurs, and

Overview

"Philemon is my new favorite companion. He’s brave, resourceful, and he knows what to do when attacked by a lamp." — Lemony Snicket

On an ordinary day in the countryside, Philemon falls into a well on his father’s farm and lands . . . on the Atlantic Ocean — literally on an A-shaped island complete with unicorns, centaurs, and exploding clocks. He begins a wild and whimsical journey home through a fantasy world as original as Alice’s Wonderland, as richly imagined as Little Nemo’s Slumberland, and as exciting to explore as Oz.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/04/2014
There’s another French comics artist as accomplished as Asterix illustrator Albert Uderzo. Translated into English here for the first time, this 1972 work from Fred (Frédéric Othon Aristidès) offers visual and conceptual fireworks as an enterprising farmer’s son named Philemon dives into a well and washes up on an island. He soon discovers that it is the “A” of the word “Atlantic” in the Atlantic Ocean as seen on every map; among its flora and fauna are bottle-bearing trees, shipwreck-causing lamps, and a mind-boggling house that grows like a plant. “But, the furniture?” asks Philemon. “It grows by itself,” explains his new companion, Bartholomew. “Everything becomes more and more luxurious.” The conversation between Philemon and his companions tends to plod: Bartholomew blusters and repeats himself, and his centaur butler, Friday, comes off less as sardonic than merely grumpy. Yet Fred’s drafting and visual storytelling skills are exceptional (he published 16 Philemon titles before his death in 2013). Working out how to get off the island brings fresh invention, and there’s even a magnificent parody of Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa.” Fans of Franco-Belgian comics will be both delighted and inspired. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
A charming French import... In a market teeming with graphic-fantasy tales, this offering is remarkably imaginative and refreshingly different. Bright colors emblazon each page, with some spreads so vibrant they almost hurt to look at, and many of the architectural shapes pleasingly recall Dr. Seuss. Not since Carroll's Alice has there been such a marvelous and incredible adventure.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Fans of fantasy and adventure classics, such as Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth, will feel right at home. Fred’s surreal and dreamlike drawings really bring the world to life, and his attention to detail is evident on every page. Vivid, psychedelic colors make the illustrations pop and match the mood of the crazy world that he has created. ... A good additional purchase for those looking to build their graphic novel collections for middle graders.
—School Library Journal

Translated into English here for the first time, this 1972 work from Fred offers visual and conceptual fireworks as an enterprising farmer’s son named Philemon dives into a well and washes up on an island. ... Fred’s drafting and visual storytelling skills are exceptional. ... Fans of Franco-Belgian comics will be both delighted and inspired.
—Publishers Weekly

Fred’s small panels are densely packed with swirling lines, elaborate tableaux, and cartoonish figures, all in a rich, jewel-tone palette. Combining the line work of Hergé’s Tintin with Dr. Seuss’ wacky figure style, this offbeat adventure story should be a great fit for middle- grade comic-book fans.
—Booklist

This wild graphic novel adventure, which integrates Greek mythology references, offers food for thought and a feast for the eyes.
—Shelf Awareness

Halfway between the humorous near-realism of Tintin and the hallucinatory Little Nemo in Slumberland, the book will be very entertaining for kids.
—Icv2 (starred review)

Philemon is my new favorite companion. He's brave, resourceful, and knows what to do when attacked by a lamp.
—Lemony Snicket

A classic for absurdists of all ages!
—Art Spiegelman

Fantastic, smart, mind-expanding reading!
—Jon Scieszka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man

The best kind of comics: a boy, his talking donkey, nonstop escapades and funny drawings!
—Jeff Smith, author of Bone

A madcap tale you'll want to read again and again!
—Frank Cammuso

Children's Literature - Leona Illig
Philemon, a teenager who lives in France with his father and a talking donkey named Anatole, always seems to be going on unusual adventures. In this one, Philemon finds a message for help in a bottle in the family’s well—and then accidentally falls into the well. That well, however, is special. After a spell of falling down and further down, he is washed up on an island where he finds two suns, a centaur, a plant that is also a clock, and other fantastic creatures. He also encounters Mr. Bartholomew, a well digger who has been digging for 40 years but cannot dig his way out of the well. Together Philemon and Mr. Bartholomew, as well as a helpful unicorn and other colorful characters, must find the clues they need to get out of the well and return home. Those familiar with the “Philemon Adventure” series will enjoy this romp through time and space. For newcomers, an introduction to the main characters is provided, and American readers might notice a similarity in tone and humor to the “Scooby-Doo” series. There is plenty of humor, especially with scenes involving Anatole the donkey, and there are lots of plot devices to stretch the imagination. The illustrations are what one would expect from a high-quality comic book: bright, bold, and not overly complicated. The illustration of Philemon in the water conveys a wonderful impression of what it might be like to be the only person in the ocean. Similarly, the illustration of a ship’s helm spinning is memorably portrayed from a topsy-turvy perspective. The book contains endnotes with additional details about features in the book, as well as tips for parents and teachers of readers of graphic books. Translated from the French. Reviewer: Leona Illig; Ages 7 to 14.
School Library Journal
09/01/2014
GR 4–6—When young farm boy Philemon Is Sent To Fetch Water From The Well,he finds a mysterious bottled message floating at the bottom. Curious, he investigates the well, only to fall in. When he resurfaces, he finds himself marooned on an "A"-shaped deserted island with all sorts of strange creatures and plant life. Now stranded, he must rely on a hermit named Mr. Bartholomew and his centaur butler, Friday, to not only survive the island, but find a way back home. Modern audiences may find this book, originally published in 1972, a little odd, but fans of fantasy and adventure classics, such as Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth, will feel right at home. Fred's surreal and dreamlike drawings really bring the world to life, and his attention to detail is evident on every page. Vivid, psychedelic colors make the illustrations pop and match the mood of the crazy world that he has created. Back matter includes notes about the various allusions made to other texts and artwork. Published for the first time in the United States, this work is a good additional purchase for those looking to build their graphic novel collections for middle graders.—Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-07-16
A charming French import first published in 1972 and now translated into English for the first time about a boy who falls down a well and finds himself in a strange, whimsical world. Philemon, a teenage boy, lives on a farm in France with his father. Ordered to their well to draw some water, Philemon finds a mysterious bottle—and then another—floating in its depths. He soon finds himself down the well and in a curious new world (much like Alice with the rabbit hole), with centaurs, unicorns, trees that grow bottles, and electric lights that grow on the beach and lure ships to their doom. He learns that he is stuck on a map, specifically on the capital letter A that begins the label "Atlantic Ocean"; as that letter A would be visible only on a printed map, he's in a place "that doesn't exist, [where] anything can exist." Philemon must then puzzle out how to find his way back home in a world where anything is possible. In a market teeming with graphic-fantasy tales, this offering is remarkably imaginative and refreshingly different. Bright colors emblazon each page, with some spreads so vibrant they almost hurt to look at, and many of the architectural shapes pleasingly recall Dr. Seuss.Not since Carroll's Alice has there been such a marvelous and incredible adventure. (visual glossary, index, maps) (Graphic fantasy. 7-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935179634
Publisher:
TOON Books
Publication date:
09/09/2014
Series:
Toon Series
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
8.06(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.36(d)
Lexile:
GN240L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

This is the American debut of Frederic Othon Aristides (1931–2013), known as Fred, who was born in and lived in Paris. As a child he filled notebooks with his amusing and imaginative comic strips. Influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, and his time in the bathtub, Fred has had cartoons published in France Dimanche and Paris Match, as well as in underground papers. The Philemon series is Fred’s most celebrated creation and a joy to millions of young French people.

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Cast Away on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
isniffbooks More than 1 year ago
Fred is most known for his Philemon Adventures that first appeared in the July 1965 issue of Pilote, a French comic magazine.  Although initially a serial publication, the Philemon Adventures were collected over the years into sixteen albums. Cast Away on  the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure, is Fred’s first comic to be translated into English for a whole new generation to enjoy –  it’s definitely a tale for kids of all ages. In the blurb for Cast Away on the Letter A the fantasy world created by Fred is compared to Alice’s Wonderland, Little Nemo’s  Slumberland, and Oz. With a comparison like that, the bar is set pretty high and readers will definitely expect a grand experience.  I am happy to report that Cast Away on the Letter A definitely delivers one. Philemon’s adventure begins when he falls into a well. He quickly gets pulled down deeper and deeper into the waters,  encountering sharks and schools of fish before losing consciousness. After some time, Philemon wakes up on a beach. The  clear sky boasts two suns and the surrounding land contains bizarre flora and fauna. Philemon soon learns that he is a cast  away on an island shaped like the letter A. And not just any A, but the A from the word “Atlantic” as in the Atlantic Ocean – letters  and words on maps that don’t even exist but for labeling purposes. In this fantasy land, Philemon will meet Bartholomew, a well  digger from his own village; a centaur named Friday; exotic plants with transformative properties; a unicorn with a prophecy;  and more! The art work is fun, colorful, and fantastic. The science nerd in me is so happy to see that on a world with two suns, Philemon  correctly has two shadows!  Cast Away on the Letter A has received so much advance praise that TOON Books plans to publish more Philemon Adventures  and other works by Fred.  isniffbooks[dot]wordpress[dot]com Disclosure: I received a complimentary book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own.