Lost Colony, Book No. 1: The Snodgrass Conspiracy

Lost Colony, Book No. 1: The Snodgrass Conspiracy

by Grady Klein

Set in nineteenth-century America, The Lost Colony takes place on a mysterious island unknown to the rest of the world. No one knows it exists except its citizens, a colorful and outrageous band of capitalists, inventors, hucksters, and freemen. They jealously guard the island's fantastic wealth from the prying fingers of the outside world, even as they

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Set in nineteenth-century America, The Lost Colony takes place on a mysterious island unknown to the rest of the world. No one knows it exists except its citizens, a colorful and outrageous band of capitalists, inventors, hucksters, and freemen. They jealously guard the island's fantastic wealth from the prying fingers of the outside world, even as they attempt to conceal its captivating secrets from one another. The Lost Colony is a boiling concoction of slavery, patriotism, religion, and greed--in many ways, the story of America itself.

The first in an addictive new series for readers of all ages, The Lost Colony is a self-contained world filled with endearing and memorable characters, whose hilarious foibles overlay a plot that resonates with America's own historical struggles with issues such as profiteering, racism and slavery. Thoughtfully written, richly illustrated, and always hilarious, The Lost Colony welcomes you into a new world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
This somewhat perplexing book is ostensibly the story of an island cut off from the rest of colonial America. The island is populated by a variety of "characters" who are just that-sitcom stereotypes without real motivation. Add to that the strange combination of both faux historical language and modern terms like "dude" and problematic artwork, and you have a book that doesn't quite hit its stride. At its center, this book is trying to tell a story about America in transition, about slavery and technology and capitalism. An old inventor comes up with a machine that will replace slaves, while another man, Snodgrass, attempts to manipulate the local currency. But the reasons for these characters' actions remain vague. The thick black outlines in Klein's artwork are filled in with a vast amount of digital effects, which distract and confuse rather than describe and elucidate. His storytelling is similarly busy, with each page filled with odd-sized panels without apparent rhyme or reason. The Lost Colony stakes out ambitious and worthwhile territory, but it needs to find a focus. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Life is good in the little community on the Island until Mr. Stoop stumbles onto the place and starts putting up posters about the slave auction in a nearby port. Everyone wants to have a word with the newcomer, whether to work with him or to drug him and ship him back to the mainland. Little Miss Birdy, daughter of Governor Snodgrass, follows Mr. Stoop back to the mainland and "buys" Louis John. He talks her into freeing him, and the two sneak out of town. Meanwhile Governor Snodgrass is plotting with Rex Carter, a mad inventor who has created a machine that will be better than any slave. When the machine gets into the wrong hands, wacky hijinks ensue, building up to a climax that has more punch than a drunken weasel. At first glance, this novel appears to be a cartoony rendition of America in the nineteenth century, but it quickly proves to be chock full of insight into the controversies of the past. The messages are hidden in plain sight as Klein uses his pictures to tell the real story behind all the words of the characters. A zany cast of slaves, ex-slaves, capitalists, opportunists, inventors, and just plain regular folk lead the way through this colorful and delightful tale. It would be a fantastic addition to public and most school libraries. VOYA CODES: 5Q 3P J S A/YA G (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults; Graphic Novel Format). 2006, First Second/Roaring Brook, 119p., Trade pb. Ages 12 to Adult.
—Leslie McCombs
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Edweard Stoop makes his way onto an island that isn't on any maps and proceeds to paper it with posters for an upcoming slave auction. This act and his very presence precipitate a series of hijinx on the part of the residents. The characters are all given amusing ways of talking, and many have a secret agenda in their interactions, but the main point of the story is to provide or provoke a comic perspective on race and slavery, ending in a resolution that literally comes out of a machine. The exaggerated characters border on offensive, with attitudes that would be easier to classify if the story or artwork, and not the cover flap, informed readers that the action takes place in the 19th century-a claim undercut by relentlessly anachronistic dialogue and situations. The artwork is clever, with marvelous colors and elegantly rendered backgrounds, but the characters have been reduced to an objectified simplicity that makes them difficult to read. Additionally, visual sequences are frequently interrupted by sudden vignettes, either of a flashback or a metaphor rendered literally. These seem to exist in order to inject an additional dose of comedy into the proceedings while breaking up lengthy expository narratives. What they serve to do, however, is jar readers and further fracture the reading experience.-Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this brightly colored and busily illustrated graphic novel, Klein introduces young Bertha "Birdy" Snodgrass. After baby brother Floyd is born, she must take on chores-and Birdy does not want to do them. Discovering a flyer for a slave auction on her isolated and seemingly harmonious island colony, she decides that she simply must buy a slave to remedy her woes. When local medicine man Pepe Wong learns of the impending sale, he sends his odd, obedient assistant Stewart out to feed the auctioneer a chemical concoction that will erase his memory, and render him unaware of the existence of their remote locale. Expectedly, events go awry, leading to the prosaic denouement where Birdy and friend Louis meet an unruly robot slave, operated by Stewart. An equivocally and flatly developed plot combines with irregularly and inconsistently sized panels to form an ambitious book that doesn't quite deliver. The saving grace of the piece is Klein's art, an imaginative blend of rounded Muppet-like characters and kaleidoscopic colors. An unusual take on American history and colonial experience, Klein's first graphic novel, while aspirant, may not hold wide audience appeal. (Graphic novel. YA)

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Product Details

San Val
Publication date:
Lost Colony Ser.
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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