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BOOK REVIEW: Asterix and the Picts by Ferri/Conrad

| 6 November 2014 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Asterix and the Picts by Ferri/Conrad
Orion Children’s Books, rrp $19.99
October 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Asterix and the Picts book cover

As a child I and millions of others pored over the Asterix series of books, guffawing at the wordplay, the clever names that played with nuances of language, and the antics of the heroic little Asterix and the lumbering but super-strong (by virtue of falling into a cauldron of magic potion as a baby) Obelix.

Frenchman Rene Goscinny wrote these wonderful stories while his partner Albert Uderzo illustrated, until 1977 when the author passed away and Uderzo took over the writing duties as well.

The 35th title in the series which started with Asterix The Gaul in 1961, Asterix and the Picts is notably the first from a brand new creative team: while Uderzo co-draws the cover, Jean-Yves Ferri wrote the story and Didier Conrad illustrated the book.

Not being the child I was in the ‘70s makes it hard to compare the experiences of reading this book now and the older material then, but it’s impossible to shake the feeling that there is some of the old magic missing here.

The story involves the discovery of a Pictish warrior, MacAroon, who is accompanied back to his homeland Caledonia (that’s Scotland to you and I) to find his lost love Camomilla, who is being held by rival chieftan MacCabeus, who wants to marry her in order to claim the throne.

As with any great Asterix story there are Romans and pirates to vanquish, and our Gaulish heroes lend a hand in putting down MacCabeus – with a little help from the enormous ‘otter’ Nessie, who lives in the Loch – and as ever the little in-jokes make the story come to life and provide much of the humour.

Asterix and the Picts is an enjoyable romp through a world from my childhood, and although it doesn’t entirely transport me back to those innocent and wondrous days, it was a welcome respite from grown up life for a couple of hours and hopefully kids today will be able to see the worth in the series too.

Category: Book Reviews

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