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Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula

Review

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula

Graphic novelist Andi Watson cooks up a winning story of love, death and desserts in PRINCESS DECOMPOSIA AND COUNT SPATULA.

Andi Watson is a British cartoonist and graphic novelist who has published work for adults and children alike. His comics are frequently very girl-centric and offer positive portrayals of female heroines. He also seems to have a bit of a romantic streak, since love stories (often unexpected ones) run through much of his work. Watson brings both these things together in his latest graphic novel for kids, PRINCESS DECOMPOSIA AND COUNT SPATULA.

Princess Decomposia leads a lonely life in her cavernous castle. Since her father, King Wulfrun, is bedridden, Decomposia winds up handling all of the paperwork and bureaucracy that comes along with ruling the underworld. She wishes she could make a friend or two, but all of her subjects view her just as "the princess" rather than as a person.

Graphic novelist Andi Watson cooks up a winning story of love, death and desserts

All that starts to change, however, when she hires a new cook. She warns Count Spatula that he won't be able to make anything adventurous --- and certainly nothing delicious --- for King Wulfrun, who falls for every passing health food fad but ultimately only enjoys "Qwik Soup" and fried kippers, "not too wet, not too dry." But that doesn't stop Count Spatula from trying to charm the princess and her royal guests with whimsical desserts like Mud Monster Cake (it actually attacks!) and Lemon Drizzle Cake (which rains down deliciously from the ceiling).

Decomposia is smitten --- but King Wulfrun's castle spies soon tip him off that his daughter has grown too familiar with the new royal cook. He demands that she fire him at once. Decomposia knows her father needs her undivided attention and loyalty, but she also knows she's happy for possibly the first time in her life. What's an undead princess to do?

Watson's black-and-white illustrations, presented for the most part in a strict grid of six panels per page, are charmingly sketchy while still providing a surprising amount of emotion. He also demonstrates a rich imagination, populating the story with a wide variety of monsters (and the cutest little garlic bulbs you've ever seen). Decomposia herself looks sort of like an undead version of the old-timey cartoon heroine Little Lulu, and Count Spatula, unsurprisingly, bears at least a passing resemblance to another count (although he has a taste for pudding rather than for blood).

Decomposia's story is as much about her finding the courage to stick up for herself as it is about romance, and readers will be rooting for her to get out from under her father's thumb. Some readers may get bogged down in the politics of the underworld, but most will be drawn into the story of a most unusual heroine and the cook who makes his way to her heart through her stomach.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on February 24, 2015

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula
by Andi Watson

  • Publication Date: February 24, 2015
  • Genres: Graphic Novel
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: First Second
  • ISBN-10: 1626722757
  • ISBN-13: 9781626722750