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Last Basselope: One Ferocious Story
     

Last Basselope: One Ferocious Story

by Berkeley Breathed
 

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Come, then, and join the Great Basselope Expenditionary Force as it sets out to discover the secrets of the world's most elusive beast. In a story of adventure and revelations, Opus leads a reluctant crew of Great and Famous Discoverers in pursuit of the final descendants of an ancient, ferocious race. They trek deep into the forest behind their backyards and come

Overview

Come, then, and join the Great Basselope Expenditionary Force as it sets out to discover the secrets of the world's most elusive beast. In a story of adventure and revelations, Opus leads a reluctant crew of Great and Famous Discoverers in pursuit of the final descendants of an ancient, ferocious race. They trek deep into the forest behind their backyards and come face-to-slobbery-fanged-face with a real discovery: things are never exactly as we think.

In this new, vividly illustrated picture book, Berkely Breathed has written a ripsnorting adventure with heart, one that will be enjoyed by the entire family for years to come.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Breathed's ( A Wish for Wings That Work ) instantly recognizable characters--among them the pusillanimous Opus and the sputtering Bill the Cat--star in this color-saturated, characteristically silly wilderness adventure. Donning his pith helmet, ``Great but Not Particularly Brave Discoverer'' Opus instigates a hunt for the savage Basselope, a creature said to have inspired terror since prehistoric times. Deep in the forest, the cowardly search party locates that odious beast--a gentle basset hound with the antlers of an antelope whose allergy to puffy dandelions lends a perpetual pre-sneeze snarl to his flabby face. Breathed's phosphorescent hues and otherworldly settings seem inspired by a lava lamp's glowing interior; he offsets his lush, airbrushed creations with pencil sketches of the bumbling ``Great Basselope Expeditionary Force.'' This book's humor and phraseology, however, seem more sophisticated than that of Breathed's A Wish for Wings That Work , and the pace occasionally slackens. Still, this rambunctious episode in several now-familiar cartoon lives provides comedy and drama for the author's devotees. All ages. Children's BOMC selection. (Oct.)
Children's Literature
This picture storybook features Opus and his friends from the popular Bloom County cartoon strip previously found in national newspapers. Opus is a penguin who decides to form an expedition to discover the whereabouts of the Last Basselope. Legend has it that the creature is a ferocious, slobbery-fanged beast. The expedition volunteers, Bill the Housecat, Milquetoast the Housebug and Ronald-Ann the Housekid, are dragged away from televisions and assigned duties. When they reach the forest gloom, they see evidence of the basselope and camp uneasily that night. The next morning they encounter their prey and discover that it is prevented from being ferocious because of dandelion allergies. Ronald-Ann offers the basselope "Tidy-Nose Allergy Spray." When the media rushes in, the former expedition members who are now the new friends of the basselope, manage to mislead the camera-carrying forces. The Last Basselope takes his leave because everyone agrees that it is best to keep him undiscovered. Multiple text and illustration vignettes reveal the sophisticated humor intended for older elementary through adult readers. The characters' traits, their images and expressions, and the small details in the scenes result in a whirlwind tour through the hilarious world of a clever cartoonist. The imagination of Berkely Breathed cannot be denied. 2001 (orig. 1992), Little Brown, $5.95. Ages 9 to 14. Reviewer: Jacki Vawter
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-- This modern fable will primarily appeal to fans of Breathed's comic strips. Glowingly surreal illustrations decorate the slight story and enhance the comedy of the fairly simple plot. Otis the penguin, along with his friends Ronald-Ann, Bill the Cat, and Milquetoast the Housebug, sets out in search of a prehistoric beast known as the Last Basselope. Once found, the beast turns out to be friendly rather than ferocious, and the intrepid adventurers decide to protect rather than exploit it. Breathed's sense of humor is delightfully sarcastic and sophisticated, but it may be missed by some younger readers. They may, however, find the sheer silliness of the tale appealing and enjoy the chance to see in book form some of the familiar characters from Bloom County and Outland. Older children and adults are more likely to appreciate the satiric view of television, print media, and contemporary society's materialistic values. Clearly, though, the usefulness of this title will depend upon the popularity of the author and the likelihood of patron interest and demand, for it is an extension of Breathed's work rather than a truly independent effort. --Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Ilene Cooper
In this picture book for older children, Breathed lets his imagination roam free, though that won't surprise readers of his comic strip, "Bloom County". Of course, this book has the advantage of being in dramatic full-color, resulting in stylized, eye-popping, full-page artwork that will delight fans who have only seen Breathed's work in small comic strip panels. The pictures are so outstanding it would take an awfully good text to match them; unfortunately, this isn't it. This time, Breathed's character Opus is leading a reluctant group of adventurers in pursuit of the almost-extinct basselope. But the basselope, named Rosebud, isn't as ferocious as the crew has been led to believe. He's downright shy, in fact, and more than a little sad that he's never had any friends. Along with the art, the tucked-in bits of wit are a strong point, but much of the humor is adult, and the story falls curiously flat. Larger collections may want to find room for this because of the fun of the artwork or the popularity of the author/illustrator.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316107617
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
10/01/1992
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
12.05(w) x 9.19(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
7 Years

Meet the Author

Berkeley Breathed is a cartoonist, novelist, director, and screenwriter, best known for the popular comic strip "Bloom County." He has written and/or illustrated many books for young readers, including Red Ranger Came Calling, The Last Basselope, Goodnight Opus, and A Wish for Wings That Worked.

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