CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 15. . . .December 16, 2017
The Greatest of Marlys! is a compilation of Lynda Barry’s syndicated comic strips featuring eight-year-old Marlys Mullen. The earliest comics date back to the 1980’s, and the last in the book are from the year 2000.
There is a cast of characters throughout the stories, including Marlys and her older sister Maybonne, her younger brother Freddie and various other family members and friends. Marlys seems to be an optimistic and happy child, but she still faces all of the emotions of growing up. We see her with friends in the neighbourhood, with teachers at school and at family events.
Since there is no particular plot line running through the book, readers can read as much or as little as they wish at any one time. The comics, themselves, are presented in black and white, and the illustrations are very busy, incorporating a lot of words as well as many visual details.
Young readers will relate to Marlys despite the fact that some of the comic strips are now 30 years old. There is an endearing quality to the stories, and Marlys exemplifies many of the adventures of pre-adolescents. Barry does an excellent job of capturing the voice and attitude of a young girl. Older readers will enjoy the more poignant and nostalgic moments, and the comics will bring back memories of childhood for many.
Ann Ketcheson, a retired teacher-librarian and high school teacher of English and French, lives in Ottawa, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.