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The Squirrel Mother

Post #821 • June 29, 2006, 12:36 PM • 3 Comments

The Squirrel Mother anthologizes works written and drawn by Megan Kelso that appeared in various publications between 2000 and 2006. Her artistic style, in which people are four-fingered, button-eyed, and as cute as daisies, provides a sweet flavor to stories with great psychological complexity. In "Meow Face," a girl's aunt suffers a mental break while babysitting her, brought on by a game of dress-up that shows her unable to deal with the real world. In "The Pickle Fork," a persistent museum curator uses flattery and false promises to talk a widow into donating her collection of silver, while the maid looks on, helpless and nearly mute. In "Split Rock, Montana," a girl salves her adolescent pain by picking a boy at random out of a group of friends and servicing him behind an abandoned car in an empty feild. ("Crying is a kind of thinking," the narrator says.) Kelso can handle denser narratives, as she does in a complex retelling of the life of Alexander Hamilton via a student obsessed with him. But I prefer when her stories have room to breathe, as she uses both narrative and graphic space to beautiful effect.

Megan Kelso: panel from "Meow Face," first published 2005, © and courtesy the artist




June 29, 2006, 8:46 PM

Off-topic, but check this out. I just discovered this French landscape painter, Leon-Germain Pelouse (1838-91). By the way, he was self-taught.



June 29, 2006, 10:06 PM

Excellent, Jack. Barbizon, I guess. That's 2 new painters for me in a week. Unusual.

Do you know Daubigny?



June 29, 2006, 10:16 PM

Barbizon-like, but technically not Barbizon. Pelouse was based in Cernay, which is in southern Alsace near the German and Swiss borders. There was a colony of landscape painters there in the latter 19th century, analogous to the Barbizon group but much less famous. Daubigny is a much better known painter than Pelouse, so yes, I was familiar with him (he was also an excellent etcher).



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