Pinky & Stinky
by James Kochalka
(Top Shelf, 2002)

Two pigs sent into space to be the first to set foot on Pluto crash-land on the moon. As luck would have it, they find a manned moon base and all seems well.

Unfortunately, the astronauts assigned there are not the friendliest guys around, as the pigs quickly discover. In the process of trying to get their spaceship repaired, the pigs receive no aid from their fellow space travelers and are eventually taken captive by a race of moon-dwelling aliens. Are the aliens really the bad guys, however? Who are their friends and who are their foes?

No, it's not an episode of "Pigs in Space," though it's equally child-friendly. The above is a description of a graphic novel by James Kochalka titled Pinky & Stinky. Stay with me, now, the trip is well worth it.

I can't really go into much detail about the characterization. As mentioned, this is a very good book for children, which I would go so far as to classify as a "children's book" if it weren't for the length of the work. Written on a very simplistic level, characterization goes as far as a sweet pig, a slightly grouchy pig, a few mean astronauts and some sweet little aliens who will defend themselves if necessary. No deep meanings or complex storylines, just kid-friendly fun.

Kochalka's art is also very simple, with thick lines and a minimalist style. The good thing about these kinds of drawings is that they are never obscured; it's easy to follow the action, even without word balloons. Again, this is exceptional material for young readers.

My conclusion, in case you haven't caught on, is that Pinky & Stinky is ideal for children, or those learning to read. It ought to be in elementary schools (and some high schools) everywhere. Of course, it's also recommended for the young at heart.

- Rambles
written by Mark Allen
published 25 October 2003

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