Written by Regis Hautiere and Drawn by Renaud Dillies
Published by NBM
Reviewed by Marc Mason
How long can innocence survive?
That’s a heady question for a book that might initially look like it is meant for younger readers. Abelard, a tiny bird who lives in a small country swamp, meets a traveler named Eppily and falls head over heels for her. Upon discovering that there are machines in America that allow creatures to fly high into the sky, he sets off into the world so that he can ride one of those machines, capture the moon, and deliver it to Eppily as a sign of his affections. The journey takes him into a gypsy carnival, alongside a grumpy bear, and onto an ocean voyage, but what happens as he discovers the truth about the world is far from a pleasant tale.
ABELARD starts off feeling somewhat quaint and unassuming, and by the time you realize where it is heading, it is far too late to stem the tide of heartache that the book makes you feel. You come to care about this crazy little bird, and you adore his innocence, but as it gets stripped away, it becomes painful. Yet that is also what makes the book so fantastic: the creators find a way to make you genuinely care about what happens to the poor little guy. You get deeply invested in his quest.
Put that together with superior presentation (hardcover, large-size printing, thick paper) and you have a book very much worth your time and money. This is a high-quality piece of work.