Totally in love with Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch

Beautiful, whimsical, enchanting, playful. I tore through Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch and needed to see more; there simply isn’t enough of author-illustrator Eric Orchard’s work. Unfortunately, a scrounge around the web revealed little more than some old interviews and that he graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (does he earns points just for being Canadian?). Online, he is frequently referred to as “an up-and-coming illustrator.” I think it’s safe to say that he has arrived.


Maddy is an Arizona girl (holla!) who needs to turn her parents, currently an adorable pair of kangaroo rats, back into humans. Her adventures lead her to fantastical creatures, magical machinery, and delightful surprises. Some scenes are reminiscent of Dorothy visiting Oz.

Others, of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells—a steampunk aesthetic quietly seeps into many frames.

Besides the talent and skill with the individual illustrations, the momentum between frames is what takes this book to another level. Look at this page: a chain reaction from the first frame causes the banjo string to snap in the second, a zoom out in the third frame flavours the entire page with humour and drama, and now we know why Maddy is looking down in frames four and five.

Yes, this is a children’s graphic novel. But it is more than that. It is a work of art. I want it for my (future) children. But I also want it for me.

(note: I received this as an ARC ebook for free, but that didn’t affect my opinions stated here)

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