Rating if the Book Were a Movie: G
Story By: Shaun McLaughlin and D.J. Milky
Writer: Dan Conner
Artist: Deborah Allo
Colors: Roberto Scalia
Cover: Deborah Allo and Roberto Scalia
Publisher: Tokyo Pop
Story: 4.2 Stars
Artwork: 3.9 Stars
Cover Artwork: 3.6 Stars
Dialogue: 3.9 Stars
Mechanics: 4.1 Stars
Editing: 4.1 Stars
About the Book:
After many years the Pumpkin King is retiring. Who will take on the moniker of Pumpkin King? There are many qualified candidates. The ones that stand out the most are two young friends, Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie.
Jack and Oogie’s friendship will be pushed to the breaking point as they go through a series of challenges including a timed competition to haul the most pumpkins from the pumpkin patch to the town square, a competition to build the biggest structure possible out of bones, and a pumpkin carving contest. The winner of the majority of these events will become Pumpkin King.
The Nightmare Before Christmas has been one of my favorite Disney movies for years. The music, the character design, and the story struck a chord with me. As good as the movie was, it raised questions. How did Jack become Pumpkin King? Was there a history between Jack and Oogie Boogie? Almost everyone in Halloween Town seems to have a house; but Oogie Boogie has an underground lair. Where did that come from?
This story answers those questions with great detail. We learn about Edgar, the retiring Pumpkin King, and see how different his vision of what Halloween should be is from Jack’s. Edgar believes there should be more of an emphasis on the trick in “Trick or Treat”, even if it means cheating.
I appreciated that this book teaches a valuable lesson about sportsmanship to children. We see a change in Oogie Boogie. He resorts to trash talking and name calling in what is supposed to be a friendly competition. His win at all costs competitiveness cost Oogie Boogie his best friend when it didn’t need to get to that point.
The title “The Battle for Pumpkin King” elicits visions of an epic brawl between Jack and Oogie that would be up there with the all time matches in professional wrestling. The artwork on the cover does a wonderful job of giving us a teaser that suggests that is what we should expect. It captures imaginations and entices people to buy the book to see what happens. Well done!
The artwork on the interior pages is exactly what you would expect from a well established franchise. We get outstanding lines that are paired with great coloring. I enjoyed the detail of the pumpkin guts during that portion of the competition. It’s a little thing; but making them look as slimy as they would be pulling them out at your table is what makes it so much easier to fall into this story.
As a geek on a budget I would highly recommend The Nightmare Before Christmas: Battle for Pumpkin King to anyone that is a fan of the franchise and for younger readers. It’s a great story. The artwork is top notch. Best of all, it comes with a valuable life lesson.