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Rohini Rangachari

Quelques forces obscures, Text and pictures by Sempé Jean Jacques, Éditions Denoël, Paris, 1994, pp. 64 Born in Bordeaux in 1932, Jean Jacques Sempe is a French cartoonist known for, amongst others, his children’s series Petit Nicolas. His subtle, fine and allusive humour allied with a sense of the derisory characterizes his entire work. Quelques Forces Obscures is a collection of cartoons dealing with the lives of ordinary people. One cartoon depicts the life of an ordinary housewife who goes to the market to buy a lettuce. The shopkeeper tells her how lovely the lettuce is. Her neighbour tells her how lovely the lettuce is. In the evening, her husband comes home and tells her how lovely the lettuce is. He hugs her, something he hardly does. Imagining the whole day as an advertisement, she bursts into tears. Another cartoon depicts a giant hand with a finger pointing at a small man with a briefcase and an umbrella on the street with the indictment, ‘You will never be on television’. A delightful set of cartoons, Quelques Forces Obscures makes for humorous reading.   Kamo l’idÉe du siècle, text and pictured by Daniel Pennac, Éditions Gallimard Jeunesse, 1993, pp. 87 Daniel Pennac born in 1944 in Morocco is a French writer who has authored numerous works including Kamo l’idée du siècle, a novel for children. The novel is set in France and the story takes place between the school of the two main characters who are students of Class 5 and their houses. The main character is ‘Kamo’ and the other character is his friend. Kamo’s father is no more and Kamo lives with his mother Tatiana, a strict mother. Kamo’s friend lives with his father ‘Pope’ and his mother ‘Moune’. The narrator is Kamo’s follower since they have known each other since play school. Another character in the novel is the teacher of Class 5, Mr Margerelle. He is well liked, very kind and patient with all the students, especially with Kamo. Another important character is a woman named ‘Modo–Magie’. She is a psychologist who has worked while studying at Kamo’s play school. She works as a marriage counselor but she herself always has problems with relation-ships. Kamo and his friend find themselves in the last trimester of Class 5 dreading the entry to middle school. The difficulty is to adapt to each of these different characters. ...

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