Pros: Garfield, Garfield, and more Garfield.
Cons: Poor Odie !!!
.... Ah, Yes ! The eloquent words of the feline Monarch himself; "Big Fat Hairy Deal". One of his favorite expressions when encountered with something that he doesn't give a rat's you know what about (which is quite often if it doesn't involve food, sleep, or himself!).
Let me start by saying that I have been a HUGE (no pun intended) fan of Garfield since he first flashed his furry face on the front of the Sunday paper, in 1978. Then, when Jim Davis (Garfield's talented creator and author) published Garfield's first book in 1980, I was hooked !!
Recently, my Dad came across a couple of my old books, when he was cleaning out his attic, and I gave them to my son. He couldn't put them down, he loved them so much. Yes, my friends, I got my son addicted to one of my childhood passions!!
So, when we came across this book in the bookstore, of course, we had to buy it. (Alright, I'll admit it. I really bought it for me, but it looks better, when purchasing comic strip books, if you have your child with you while you're standing in line !! )
This particular book, Garfield, Fat Cat Three Pack, is actually a compilation of the first three books in Garfield's series:
Garfield At Large
Garfield Gains Weight
Garfield Bigger Than Life
As a child, I had all three of these original books, and more.... as a matter of fact, I had just about every Garfield book that was published in the 80's !!! It's pretty safe to say that I was a fanatic, even learning how to draw Garfield (quite skillfully, she adds, patting herself on the back), and doodling him on everything I could get my hands on (homemade schoolbook covers, notes to friends, drawings, chalkboards, arms, legs...... ).
My childhood bedroom was plastered with Garfield paraphernalia. From slippers, posters, clock, shoe laces, stuffed animals (yes, I had Odie, Nermal, Arlene, and Pooky too), notebooks, Calendars, lamp, book ends, trash barrel and even a Garfield phone that when you lifted a section of his back up to talk, his eyes would open !!! Ok.... I was just as much of a "weirdo" back then, as I am now. What can I say ?
Anyway.... enough about me. This is a review on a specific book, and not about how strange the author of this Epinion is.
So.... Exactly who is this "Garfield" character? Well, simply, he's a fat, lazy, opinionated, ill tempered feline who spends his days gluttonizing any food he can get his paws on, insulting his owner John, terrorizing a dog named Odie, and sleeping. Other favorite pastimes include watching TV, chasing the mailman, and destroying various household items.
This is "classic" Garfield at his best. As I stated before, this is a compilation of Garfield's first three books. It's interesting to read through, and see how Garfield evolved into what we know him as today.
In the first section of this book (Which is the first book published: Garfield at Large ) you will see Garfield in his original state. He was a bit "different" than he is now. His body was larger and wider, with a smaller head and longer ears. Not as "cute" as the Garfield that we have all come to know and love. As this book/section progresses, he rounds out a little and becomes "smoother" and more proportionate.
Although Garfield's appearance is slightly different, you'll find that this is loaded with that famous grumpy, pessimistic Garfield wit!
You'll learn about Garfield's passion for food, especially lasagna ( I mean, who couldn't help but love a cat that devours an entire lasagna in one gulp, then "Thwoks" his owner over the head with the empty pan). Garfield first meets Odie in this section. His owner John decides to let his buddy Lyman stay with him, and much to Garfield's dismay, the buddy has a dog. Garfield learns to "deal" with this by capitalizing on Odie's lack of intelligence (as Garfield says; "Ten billion dogs in this world, and I get Tweedldee the Wonder Dummy"). You name it, Garfield does it to this poor dog. Turning Odie into his own personal kicking bag, or getting Odie in trouble for things he's done. Oh, don't worry though. Odie's not quite as dumb as you'd think. He gets in a few on Garfield, too !!
In between the first section and the second, you'll see a page with "A talk with Jim Davis: Most Asked Questions". For example:
"Q: Have you ever been convicted of a felony?"
"A: Next question please..."
On to the next section (the second book published: Garfield Gains Weight). Garfield's appearance smoothes out a little more, but he's still as feisty as ever !! You'll find him hogging John's bed, stealing food off of John's plate, becoming a "catsicle", and... of course, pummeling Odie !! Yup, more and more of the "lovable" (NOT) antics of an over-plumped pet. By the end of this book/section, his appearance has evolved into the image that we all recognize today, and his personality as a tyrannical tiger has definitely become apparent and set in stone !!
So, we reach the third section of this book (the third book published: Garfield, Bigger than Life). Yup... more lasagna eating (as well as swallowing numerous roasted chickens - whole), more canine bashing, and the utmost disrespect for his owner.
In this book/section, he meets Nermal, "The world's cutest kitten". Nermal is John's parent's cat, and John is babysitting him for the week. Garfield's response?... "Wake me in a week !"
Garfield continues to thwart John's efforts at getting a date with the Vet named Liz (who John has had the hots for, for years), however... much to Garfield's disgust, Liz decides to put Garfield on a diet (When John gives him a carrot for supper, he decides to use it to try to lure a rabbit, instead of eating it... "Here rabbit, rabbit, rabbit....").
Well... we draw toward the end of the book. But, wait.... guess what? On the second-to-last page, you too can learn how to draw Garfield as well as me !! A simple 5 step process in the art of Garfielding !! This includes unique descriptions of his parts, like "pasta spotters" - eyes, and "can opener sensors" - ears.
Finally, on the very last page, you will find an "Up Close and Personal" questions and answers with Garfield section. For example:
"Q: Why did you call your most recent book GARFIELD, BIGGER THAN LIFE?"
"A: I didn't name the book, actually. I have the distinct feeling it is some kind of slur on my size. The book was named by my late editor !!!"
Do I recommend this book???? .... Ummm... does Garfield love lasagna??? The answer to both is YES !
And, at last, I leave you with some Garfieldisms:
"If you want to look thinner, hang out with people bigger than you !"
"I hate Mondays....."
"I've never met a lasagna I couldn't conquer!"
"I'm fat, and I'm proud of it !!"
"Nap Attack !!!......."
"He obviously has disgustingly, slovenly, sloppy fat confused with 'Big Boned'. "
"If there's anything a depressed person hates, it's a cheerful person."
"Show me a jogger, and I'll show you a strange person with a thing for pain."
And, finally.... if you don't think that my review is helpful.. well.... "Big Fat Hairy Deal !!"