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*Blindspot* by Kevin C. Pyle- young readers fantasy book review
by Kevin C. Pyle
Ages 9-12 96 pages Henry Holt March 2007 Paperback    

Kevin Pyle reminds readers what it was like to be a young boy again in his graphic novel Blindspot. The main character, Dean, is a military buff who enjoys comics and playing army with a few of his friends in the woods near his house. When they are not out scouting terrain or executing mission orders, they are challenging and teasing each other. But Deanís passion for drawing and the military begin to strike disharmonic chords as his school grades suffer and his parents grow increasingly frustrated with him. Unfortunately, even his friends are becoming less interested in army and more interested in girls.

Pyleís coming-of-age story may be a bit too transparent, but his method and style certainly are not. For any kid who engaged in such imaginary play, this story will not only make the reader smile but also reflect upon when he or she ceased playing. In an age where imaginative free play is drastically dwarfed by other programmed and organized time (tutoring, after-school daycare, video games, television), Pyle reminds readers how imagination can become such a powerful and wonderful thing in the hands of youth. Readers empathize with Deanís plight, much like Peter Pan in trying to avoid growing up and relish his adventures in the woods with his friends. But, unfortunately for Dean, his growth spurt happens in the span of just one night when he enters the forest as a boy but emerges as someone else - someone who has hung up his army fatigues and toys.

Pyleís use of color proves an interesting source of discussion. He tints sections of his story different colors, and if one is to follow the pattern of tinting, they seem to reveal the same story which the art and text are telling. The color serves as an indicator of relationship between Deanís identity and imagination. For instance, early on during his adventures with his friends, the panels are tinted with a forest green whenever he is within the forest. However, by storyís end, when Dean visits the forest, it is now more of a lime green, implying a change in his relationship with the forest, which represents his youth and imagination. But thatís not the only intriguing aspect of Pyleís art. At several points, he turns panels of his graphic novel into great reproductions of the classic war comics found throughout the middle of the twentieth century. These reveal the influences in Pyleís own life that have lead him to create this tale, but also serve as an interesting contrast of the art he produces.

Then, of course, thereís the title, Blindspot. Though a specific reference point in the book, it also explains the position of young Dean. He is at a point in his life where he cannot see where he is going. He does not perceive the changes that are transpiring in and around him and is ultimately blindsided by the new direction his life will take.

Pyleís nostalgic venture into youthís power of imagination will even have adult readers relishing and reminiscing about their own adventures. Blindspot proves as endearing in plot as it proves intriguing in artistic style.

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  Lance Eaton/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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