CBR12 BINGO: Friendship
Liz Climo is probably my favorite working cartoonist. Her drawings of “odd couple” animals and their relationships are unmitigated joy, what my 29-year-old niece describes as “wholesome” (followed by the sobbing eyes emoji, reserved for things so pure she just can’t stand it).
If you’re not familiar with Climo’s artwork, then congratulations, you lucky duck, because you are about to experience happiness like you haven’t felt in months! Her characters are usually critters that you might not typically think of as “going together,” like a sloth and an alligator, a pig and a snake, a shark and an otter. Most frequently, she pairs a rabbit with a bear. When Climo appeared at my local bookstore last October to promote her new book, Please Don’t Eat Me, she confessed that the rabbit and bear characters are modeled after her husband and herself (she is the bear).
Climo described the bear and rabbit in Please Don’t Eat Me as “cousins” of the ones you might be familiar with from her cartoons. In this delightful children’s book, a bear runs into a rabbit in the forest and threatens to eat him. Preferring not to be consumed, the rabbit stalls, first ordering a pizza for the bear, then getting him a dessert, then pretending to be eaten so the bear’s friends won’t laugh at him, and so on. In the end, it turns out the bear just didn’t want the rabbit to leave, because they were having such a nice time hanging out, and the bear doesn’t have many friends. CUE HEART EXPLOSION.
Is Liz Climo adorable? Does a bear eat pizza in the woods?
What makes Climo’s humor stand out is the total absence of meanness. She creates scenarios that are funny and surprising without being malicious, or sarcastic, or smug. Don’t get me wrong, I can get behind all those qualities in the interest of laughter. But for now, for the pandemic, for the end of the world, I appreciate things that can make me laugh and at the same time be kind. I highly recommend you buy this book, and other Liz Climo collections, and keep them in your bug out bag. We are going to need kindness to get through the rest of 2020 and beyond.
Some pics from Liz Climo’s book signing at Vroman’s in Pasadena!