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Thursday, January 08, 2015

Shell Game! Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been by Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate

THIS IS ME, MARCEL!

ONE THING ABOUT A NEW DAY--YOU ABSOLUTELY NEVER KNOW WHERE IT IS GOING TO GO
.

Marcel the Shell (With Shoes On) is enjoying the morning by taking a stroll across a blanket with his surrogate dog Alan (a piece of lint). It's not his bed. His bed is a slice of bread. But this bed has a fluffy blanket, which somehow gets Marcel lost in musing about how much he loves cake.

And then someone comes in to make up the bed. Not noticing tiny Marcel and the likewise fluffy Alan, she lifts the blanket and gives it a shake.

I AM SAILING THROUGH THE COOL MORNING AIR 2000 CENTIMETERS OFF THE GROUND.

EVERYTHING LOOKED SO SMALL. I COULD SEE THE WHOLE RUG AND ALL OF ITS FAR-FLUNG FRINGES.

Marcel's world view is changed in a moment. He can see Nana Shell, sleeping in her fancy French bread bed. He looks down on the baby in his crib and ponders what it means.

I DON'T KNOW WHY THEY PUT HIM IN JAIL.

Then Marcel feels that he's reached the apogee of his trajectory in space.

I FELT WEIGHTLESS. I THOUGHT ABOUT ASTRONAUTS.

But what goes up must come down, as so does Marcel, in a most surprising touchdown.

SPLAT!

And Marcel the Shell makes a most propitious soft landing in the fluffy frosting of a birthday cake, in Jenny Slate's and Dean Fleischer-Camp's second Marcel story, Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been (Razor Bill, 2014). Marcel is an ironic, solipsistic shell. The world is huge and mostly unknown, but Marcel's naively self-centered but philosophical take on the world is a unique narration, and Fleischer-Dean's unusual drawings, making full use of the chance for a mollusk-eye-view of Marcel's known world from space, set this one off with just the right touch of sly irony. Best read with Slate's and Fleischer-Camp's first book, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On: Things About Me (See review here).

"Visually clever and verbally unusual," says Kirkus.

For an animated view of Marcel's one-of-a-kind voice, watch Marcel's gone-viral introductory film here, where can also see Marcel and his creators interviewed by the like of Brian Williams and Conan O'Brien.

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