||American Library Association Booklist
March 15th, 2007
"Following A Cheese Related Mishap (2005), Friesen delivers the second volume of the Lookit! humor anthology, featuring the story of Melville, the clever but lazy penguin. This time Melville and company become embroiled in a race to find enough gold to pay the rent on the castle of Pellmellia, hoping to help the cheese-loving king beat a group of silly, cookie-obsessed pirates. Other, shorter stories include a piece about a character named Captain Cautious and a sepia-washed western parody about two out-of-work birds. There is one problem: Friesens humor tends toward younger readers, while his language and ideas seem better suited to a more sophisticated audience. The art, however, ranges so widely (from digital Claymation to outright cartoons) that the pages remain visually engaging throughout, and the humor comes at a furious pace, with sometimes four of five jokes crammed into a single panel. Lots to look at here." Jesse Karp
Previous Praise for 'A Cheese Related Mishap' and other news and reviews of interest.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reservedCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Gr. 5-8. Fidget the penguin, a pair of daffy narrators, assorted evildoers, overly domesticated turkeys, and scenes from a small-town America that hopefully will never come to pass combine to keep the action in high gear in this collection of graphic-novel tales. Although author-artist Friesen is only 17 (" I began my cartooning career at age 12"), the comedy here is a cut above sophomoric high jinks, and his crisp artwork pays skillful, energetic homage to mid-twentieth-century black-and-white television cartoons. The two parts of the titular cheese tale bookend several unrelated vignettes, but the overall flow of the volume is smooth and nicely edited. The typeface is bold, and the panels are generous, so it's easy to find the details that make the verbal patter three-dimensional. With nothing risque and plenty of interesting goings-on, this will be welcomed by kids and by librarians alike. Francisca Goldsmith
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
The Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Books:
"Raymond Q. Wonderfull is hoping for an exciting visit with his relatives in Pellmellia, and he is in luck; Cheese Festival Week is in full swing"and Professor Eggner's mysterious cheese centerpiece promises to add a thrill to the proceedings. Indeed, the Professor's "pseudo-scientific cheese related research" has yielded a liquid called C3 that turns all water it touches into cheese. No groundbreaking scientific discovery is without its challenges, however, and a jealous rival, chicken ninjas, and a disgruntled housekeeper all threated to destroy this marvel of technology before it can even be unveiled. A giant cheese wave and our intrepid heroes save the day, fortunately, and the book ends on a Cheese Festival extravaganza. Inserted between chapters are comic-strip interludes, brief stand-alone stories that vary in quality (some are rather lengthy considering their single puch lines) but are all quite clever concepts; one of the best involves Captain Cautious, the neatnik vegetarian superhero and his vampire-bat sidekick. The graphic novel's black-and-white illustrations match the text in their loopy refusal to stay in orderly panels and follow a linear track. This rebellion against the traditional format may confuse readers, but there is a pattern within the chaos that becomes clear after a couple of chapters. Friesen's budding talent as an illustrator (he is only seventeen) is especially highlighted in the interludes, as each individual story demonstrates a distinctive and promising drawing style. Slightly more sophisticated than Captain Underpants, but in the same vein, this is sure to be popular with kids who can't get enough of graphic novels or who just like the jokes to be goofy and plentiful." AS
Midwest Book Review
Ray Friesen began publishing a series of humor comics at the age of 13. Now he's 17 and through his own comic book company, Don't Eat Any Bugs Productions, has issued the second volume of Lookit!, populated with characters like Mellville the Penguin, Raymond Q. Wonderful, and Raymond's girl cousin, Fidget. Clearly documenting Ray Friesen as a comic book writer/artist of considerable talent and originality, Lookit! is great and recommended fun from the first page to the last.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
Gr 5-8The most impressive thing about this book is the author, who started his cartoon career at age 12 and is now 17. The comic follows the zany adventures of two young teens and a penguin as they race to save exploding cheese from chicken ninjas. Two bickering narrators tell this whimsical tale. The story tries to come off like a witty imitation of Jeff Smiths Bone, but ultimately feels more like an extended version of Dav Pilkeys Captain Underpants (both Scholastic). The illustrations lack detail, but they match the texts wackiness well; they come across as cheesy and retro. While the story falls short, it is a worthy effort from a young writer who obviously has a bright future.Scott La Counte, Anaheim Public Library, CA
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
A Cheese Related Mishap and Other Stories is a 94 page comic adventure story (kind of) written by 17 year old Ray Friesen. Ray does a good job of giving you a preview to his style in the book's introduction. "...my stories tend to be character-driven. Oh, sure there's a plot, but it comes and goes. Don't be overly concerned." He goes on to say, "...this is genuinely an 'All Ages Humor' book. I can say this because at least two people have read it, and they're definitely not the same age." Ray warns us to sit back and enjoy the silliness, comedy and mayhem.
In all honesty, this is not the type of book that would normally appeal to me. I can't say that I read comics, in general. And if I was going to, I would not likely be drawn to one starring Eggner von Shmoodledike, the quantam cheeseologist and absent-minded professor who is trying to keep his "grand cheese invention" safe from the nefarious Jarvis van Chickenheimer and his chicken Ninjas! Stories involving cheese, penguins, chicken Ninja's and "big nosed hooligans...planning anti-cheese activities" are not normally my cup of tea. However, I will admit to being surprisingly amused throughout this tale.
Ray admits his humor is "weird" so I doubt he will take offense when I agree. It's weird - really weird. I would go so far as to say, off-the-wall. There are so many different styles of humor going at once, that one is bound to strike your funny bone. The book is peppered with silly, non-plot oriented conversations like the following.
"So, you found the soda then??
"No, this is the juice from the lab."
"You figured out which was the juice and which was the poison?"
"Yeah. Probably. Whatever."
Several unrelated mini-adventures involving "Captain Cautious & The Six Million Dollar Lamb" and "TByrd Fearlessness" are sandwiched between Part 1 and Part 2 of A Cheese Related Mishap. Why? To add suspense, of course!
I must disagree with the author that this book is appropriate for all ages. I would give it an age recommendation of middle school and up. While I can't say that I see it as a great educational tool, the stories do use a highly developed and challenging vocabulary. If you have a child interested in humor or comics this would make a good piece to study. If your teen or pre-teen enjoys things "the sillier-the-better", this is the book for them.
While generally non-offensive, there are a few terms and phrases that have potential to cause concern. For example, stink bombs are sent with the message, "I hate you. You smell." and "Cheese sucks!" buttons are worn by certain characters. While all intended in fun and silliness, I know some parents prefer to avoid this type of humor. Another reason I don't see this humor as directed to anyone under middle school age.
This is the type of book that some will find hilarious and others will find ridiculous. Hopefully, I've given you enough information to determine which it is for you.
-- Product Review by Dena Wood, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, February, 2006