Review: ‘Dragon Puncher’
By James Kolchalka
Top Shelf, 40 pages, $9.95
James Kolchalka is an inventive cartoonist who likes to have fun with his subject matter and his artwork. In his latest offering from Top Shelf, this whimsical children’s tale mixes photography with simply drawings in an appealing way.
In his own words, the book is “about a cat in a battle suit that punches dragons, basically.” The title character is a figure with a picture of his family cat in place of a face, while his seven year old son Eli plays the eager Spoony E and the artist himself lends his face to the fierce dragon.
This is certainly a fast-moving story about good versus evil and friendship, making it an engaging children’s book. The art and photography are not seamless but play nicely with one another, with the figures set against green grass and blue skies. His offbeat humor comes through as the hero does not want a sidekick and Spoony E remains eager and oblivious to the cat’s distaste for him.
Together, the two have endure the dragon’s stinky breath and slimy drool. There’s a simplicity and an originality to the book that should enchant the parents who read this to their children or the children using it to launch their own imaginations.