REVIEW: Anthony and the Gargoyle by Jo Ellen Bogart, illustrated by Maja Kastelic
A boy befriends a baby gargoyle in this magical wordless story in graphic-novel style from award-winning creators Jo Ellen Bogart and Maja Kastelic.
Anthony’s house is full of family photos — of his parents’ trip to Paris, his great aunt, and Anthony himself as a toddler, holding his favorite rock.
When Anthony wakes up one morning, he sees that his “rock” has cracked open — it’s hollow inside. He doesn’t see the little face peering out from the closet. Later, he discovers the newly hatched creature and they become friends. Anthony asks his mother about the rock, and she shows him a photo album of a trip to Paris. Anthony sees that his friend resembles the gargoyles at Notre-Dame cathedral. Back in his room, he shows the photos to the baby gargoyle who looks at them with longing.
News arrives that Anthony’s great aunt is in hospital. The family travel to Paris to visit, and Anthony secretly brings the baby gargoyle. When the family have a chance to climb Notre-Dame’s tower, Anthony and his friend wander from one gargoyle to the next … until the baby gargoyle sees one that looks just like him.
A bittersweet story of true friendship and letting go.
Come on. Look at that little gargoyle face on the cover and try and tell me it isn’t the cutest. Anthony and his pal are the sweetest and I loved, loved, loved reading their story. Don’t worry too much about the description of a “bittersweet story” in the blurb. It’s the friendship part you should pay attention to. True friends will help each other and that’s what Anthony selflessly – and deliberately – sets out to do. Anthony is wise beyond his years. Bogart and Kastelic make sure to let us know that the memories Anthony keeps will be happy ones and that the little gargoyle has found his home and his “people.”
The illustrations are fantastic and “tell” the story without any words at all. Yet, I totally understood actions, emotions, and intentions. Start looking early for glimpses of the friendly, little gargoyle peeking out. Read the story once to discover what happens then go back and soak up all the details and “feels.” I will quibble a bit and say that very young readers may need a little help with the transitions in the story – perhaps pointing out key details in the pictures. But this is a book I feel can be enjoyed by children and adults. I know that I did. A-