The Professor’s Daughter

25 11 2008

profsdaughter-pageThe Professor’s Daughter is written by Joann Sfar and illustrated by Emmanuel Guibert.

It is published by First Second and rated as… I couldn’t find a rating. But more about that later.

The art in this book is so beautiful and Guibert’s technique is quite unique. First Second posted this video of Guibert working on drawings for another of his works, Alan’s War.

It seems likely that Guibert’s talent for conveying physical expression would be noticeable regardless but having two of the characters completed swathed in bandages throughout the narrative really draws attention to his skill. The panel layouts are very simple which allows one to focus on the gorgeous balance of color and shading.

Sfar’s writing is really wonderful with most of the exchanges imbued with levels of humor that transcends the dialogue. The adventure moves at a surprising pace. Both feats of daring and courtroom drama are handled with amusing alacrity. The Professor’s Daughter works as both a riff on Victorian English social norms and a tribute to the era’s popular narratives combined with a modern, infectious energy and cleverness.

An attempt to rate this book based on age would be difficult. Its clever, absurdist approach to plotting and urbane humor won’t resonate with “all ages”. It would be nice to think that some clever young thing would not only know where to situate this thematically but also really appreciate the humor of this odd love story.

An excerpt has been provided on the First Second website.

Sfar, Joann (w), Emmanual Guibert (i) and Alexis Siegel (translation). The Professor’s Daughter (2007), English ed., First Second. ISBN 10: 159643130X