Gene Luen Yang can write the instructions to how to make a sandwich and I would read it. That does not mean I will love it, but I will always appreciate it. And Animal Crackers is in that category. I was not jumping up and down about it, and even with a second reading (although a bit of a quick one) and being able to put together a few more pieces I missed the first time, I still did not love this graphic novel.
This book is about life, choices, religion, and yourself. Broken into two main parts, with a third smaller one, this collection combines two individual stories that come from earlier works by Yang. The first and second part are two characters dealing with life, love, friendships, weird dreams, food experiments and talking animal crackers. The third part is about a character that comes to our attention in the first section but is given his own part to help you have another piece of the puzzle and to fill in how a cupcake can be so right and so wrong at the same time.
The first story is about bullies, aliens up our noses, friendship, and forgiveness. The second story about how we must forgive, understand hope, and aliens up our noses. Pay attention to the art as people, places and things overlap the two. These stories are just life, with the metaphor of hope. We deal with bullies, being the bully, crushes, hatred, and friends who have one heck of a belch after diet root beer.
You just go with the flow and find out what you are going to find out. While any age from 10 up could read, I do not know if they would be okay with some of the concepts as, except for some language, content is mostly PG. The end includes a minicomic of Yang telling you the ins and outs of the making of Animal Crackers.