This past week was our Spring Break, and we didn’t go anywhere. So, I spent some time attempting to finish all of the books sitting around the house that I had gotten halfway through. It turns out that there were more than I thought. I got through six, but that wasn’t all of them. As you might imagine, my thoughts are a bit discombobulated…trying to remember which book had annoying New York helicopter parents, and which had an alien race of teenage girls…but this one was easy to remember because it had no plot and was simply a collection of cartoons from Kate Beaton.
I knew a little bit of her work before picking this book up. My youngest is a big fan of her award-winning picture books like King Baby and The Princess and the Pony. It was interesting to learn more about her through her perspective of historical events. She says at the start of the book that she was a history major who always found herself cartooning when she was supposed to be taking notes in class. And thus, a career was born.
In this volume, Beaton pretty much makes fun of everything and everyone. Canadians, the Founding Fathers of the United States, the Bronte Sisters, Nancy Drew, hipsters, and fans of Jane Austen mash-ups. Nothing is sacred.
Beaton provides entertaining and somewhat educational footnotes for some of the historical events…I, for one, was unaware of much of the political history of Canada, so that was helpful for me. I also enjoyed her take on hipsters during the French Revolution, ruining everything for everyone, just like today!
A few of my favorites:
Her take on the ridiculousness of The Great Gatsby
Her hatred of the brooding romantic hero created by two out of three Bronte sisters
And especially Hamlet’s overdone moping. And its delightful footnote:
This was a fun way to spend an hour. A quick note — this book is definitely rated R. If you have a kid who wants to see the fat pony from their favorite picture book (who does appear here), this is probably not a great choice. Just enjoy this instead: