Anna & Froga: Completely Bubu from France’s Anouk Ricard has to ride a fine line: This collection of cartoons can’t be too childish for adult readers, nor too adult for younger readers.
Otherwise, it will fall flat.
Comic creator Ricard mostly succeeds.
She captures the feeling of what it’s like to be a kid with her cartoon animals.
They live in the eternal now, and do typical childish things:
They play boardgames, get lost in the woods, take care of sick friends, eat too many French fries and make prank phone calls.
They also fall in and out of friendships with ease.
They are just as apt to betray friends as help them.
What can I say? Children are fickle.
The Bubu of the subtitle is the dog in this particular circle of friends.
There’s also a worm, a cat and a frog.
If that sounds like the Richard Scarry characters you remember from your own childhood reading, you’ve got the right idea.
A typical strip has Bubu, sick in bed, finally faking that he has rabies because his friends — who think they are helping him recover — are a pain in the butt.
He goes into the bathroom and lathers up his muzzle with toothpaste. They notice the white spittle:
“You look like you’re drooling.”
“Didn’t I tell you? I’ve got rabies.”
“Rabies? Uh . . . interesting! Getting kinda late, isn’t it?”
As for the art, Ricard’s lines are crisp and the vignettes are broken up with painted interludes that serve as punctuation to the previous story. Anna & Froga: Completely Bubu would make a good stocking-stuffer.