The Essential Footrot Flats by Murray Ball
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A while back, I owned a copy of Footrot Flats: The Dog Strips: The Ultimate Collector's Edition. Then I sent it, via USPS from Colorado to Alaska. 15 of my book boxes broke apart in handling and the contents were lost. That book, which is now selling on Amazon for more than $1,200, was one of the ones that was lost. I can't afford to replace it at that price, so I bought this book instead. This is a rather jumbled collection of some of the best strips from the entire collection of Murray Ball's work. The strips were selected as favorites by friends and family members, as I understand. The drawback is that individual story lines are lost. From what I can tell, the individual books follow the story lines more completely.
That said, I enjoyed this book. I grew up in Iowa (USA), in a semi-rural area, which has now been taken over by urban expansion. We weren't farmers, but my brother raised sheep as a 4-H project and we raised chickens and geese, so I know a little bit about those animals. And we had dogs and cats. So, some of the situations were familiar to me, and some definite were not. This is New Zealand, after all. And I love cartoons from other parts of the world. [Recommendations are gladly accepted. I read English, obviously, but also German, some Spanish, and a bit of French.]
I would have enjoyed following story lines more and I may actually get some of the individual smaller books. It is hard to know which ones to get, though, as there are at least 30 of them.
One advantage of this particular book is the full color art work in between two of the sections of the book. These are a group of larger, full page or two-page spreads, where the detail is more evident. With the smaller strips, I occasionally had problems deciphering parts of the drawings. Ball's drawings typically have a great deal of detail, which means that the size of the drawings is more important than some cartoon strips that are more simply drawn.
This book should actually have gotten 4 stars from me - with deductions for the lack of continuity of story lines and the confusion when there was too much detail for the size of the strips - but I appreciate so much the humor and unique perspectives of a culture different from mine that I bumped the stars up to 5, anyway.
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