Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Booknote: Asterix Omnibus, Vol. 3

Goscinny, ,René and Albert Uderzo (illustrator), Asterix Omnibus, Vol. 3. London: Orion, 2011.

ISBN: 9781444004274

Genre: Comic strips
Subgenre: Juvenile/YA
Series: Asterix 

This volume includes three books from the famous French series: Asterix and the Big Fight, Asterix in Britain, and Asterix and the Normans.  The strength of this series is that, even though it is a juvenile book, adults can certainly enjoy it. The author and the illustrator have created a series that children and youth can enjoy for the humor while adults will likely appreciate the many references to modern era and pop culture. I used to enjoy these as a child myself, so when I saw that my local public library had it, I had to pick it up.

In the first book, another Gaul chieftain has gone over to the Romans. He now wants to fight Vitalstatistix, chief of Asterix's tribe, for control of the tribe, and by law, if he wins, he can do so. Now, you'd think that with our Gauls' magic potion, made by the druid Getafix (you've got to love the names), that things would be fine. But when the druid's memory is temporarily impaired, and he can't remember how to make the magic potion that gives superhuman strength, all sorts of hijinks ensue as the Romans think they finally have a way to conquer that last Gaulish village that keeps resisting them. It's a fun little tale.

In the second book, Asterix and Obelix travel over to Britain to help some locals resist the Romans. When they get there, they find that the Brits have some seriously different customs (eating boar boiled with mint sauce? what the heck?). Again more hijinks ensue along the way, and in the end, we find out what those mystery herbs Getafix found are actually for.

The third book I thought was the weaker of the three, but it was still well worth it. In it, the chief's nephew comes for a visit. Justforkix is sent by his father to his uncle so Vitalstatistix can make a man out of him. Unfortunately, Justforkix is your typical teenager more interested in rock and roll and bumming around. Oh, and there is a Norman invasion coming. It still was a fun tale, but I liked the other two better. At any rate, you can never go wrong with these books.

Overall, a great book for children and teens. I think it would be good for parents to read with their kids. You get a humorous look at history (a little history), and you get characters that are fun. There is some slapstick violence, after all the Gauls are fighting the Romans, but nothing that should keep you from letting your kids read it. Overall, this is a nice series that remains popular today.

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