Hello folks, I’m back! I have for this week a modest children’s book offering everyone should check out. The book, from one of our favorites Candlewick Press, is called Mitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand and illustrated by Tony Fucile. This is a must read book if you have a young child and need a good book for nightly reading or it make a great gift, be it for a birthday or for milestones such as starting preschool (or first day of gasp, KINDERGARTEN). At least, I would have liked receiving a book like this at that age.
Mitchell’s plot is rather straightforward; Rowdy four year-old Mitchell and his dad have an afternoon together at the bowling alley for the first time and we follow their antics as Mitchell learns the ups and downs of the game. This is the second Mitchell book and collaboration between Duran and Fucile (the first being 2011’s Mitchell’s License now being re-released as Mitchell Goes Driving as part of what I will assume be an ongoing Mitchell Goes series); the book is fresh, charming with witty and very current humor sensibility and descriptions from Fucile as we follow the father-son duo as they play their game.
If Tony Fucile’s kinetic, and animated yet simple artwork looks familiar and brings to mind The Incredibles or other Disney and animated works you’re not far off; Fucile has worked more than twenty years in the animation field whether as a character designer, head of animation, supervising animator, visual development or character artist and animator (not all at the same time) for many films in the Disney/Pixar canon and other studios. A few of the works Fucile has contributed to include The Little Mermaid (1989), FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992), Aladdin (1992) The Lion King (1994), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) The Iron Giant (1999), The Incredibles (2004), and Ratatouille (2007).
Fun, quick and endearing, visually comedic. this is a great book for all ages. However there is something that sets this book further apart. The one thing that really makes this book special is that the titular Mitchell comes from a bi-racial family; Mitchell shares his dad’s curls but none of his complexion or coloring, and that fact is presently plainly without fuss or being tied to the narrative stories in either book.
It are these quiet displays of representation that make all the difference. I know there are so many families that look exactly like Mitchell’s family and have for the longest time struggled with proper representation, seeing themselves in American entertainment media which overwhelmingly skews towards white families even in 2013. This now two book series is a classic-in-the-making series (and if there are continued adventures it could be a fun animated TV show or shorts) and while pretty casual and fresh it is completely worth the space on anyone’s shelf; hopefully there will be more and more adventures of Mitchell and his family to come soon. Overall (so help me I can’t resist), it’s a perfect strike! Check this out when it comes out this September.
Mitchell Goes Bowling
by Hallie Durand
illustrated by Tony Fucile
Candlewick Press | 9780763660499 | $15.99 | Available Sept 2013
Until next time!
Staff Writer/The Doctor