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Graphic Novels Reviews

Yakari Vol 3: Yakari and the Beavers

(Five stars)
Writer: Job
Artists: Derib.
Publishers: Cinebook

Satyajit Chetri Aug 09, 2008

Personal note: I first read the story of Yakari the little Red Indian boy when I was about ten or eleven, thanks to an uncle who had bought a couple of hardcovers when he was abroad. I am sure the eleven-year-old version of me would be happy to know that nearly two decades later, I enjoyed the story, reprinted in India by Cinebooks, just as much as I did then. It’s hard not to fall in love with Yakari. He’s respectful to his elders, loyal to his friends, courageous in times of adversity – and he can talk to animals. Along with his mustang Little Thunder and occasionally aided by his totem Great Eagle, Yakari has fascinating adventures across the Great Prairie. In this installment of the series, Yakari and Little Thunder encounter a colony of beavers, populated with a diverse cast of characters ”“ the easily-irritable Thousand-Mouths, the artistic Double-tooth, and frisky little Linden Tree, to name a few. Over the days, Yakari (as well as the reader) gets to know the beavers and their dam-building habits better, and the little Indian becomes a trusted friend to the colony.

It is hard to talk about a Yakari story as a “story” per se, because one title is more of a series of whimsical escapades. Like most of the other French titles I’ve read, the artwork is clean and flawless and instantly draws you into the story. Derib’s line-work and Job’s words (translated into English by Erica Jeffrey) have just right balance of puns and the odd throwaway visual joke here and there to induce a snort of laughter from readers, young and old alike. But what one is most likely to take away from a Yakari comic is the sense of respect and harmony the titular character shows for Nature ”“ a strong example is that of Yakari walking away from an archery session the other Indian children are indulging in, drawn towards a butterfly fluttering around. “One might call you a flower with wings when you fly,” he says. One needs to be a child to make such an observation, and one becomes a child when reading something like it.

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