Lee Nordling
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BirdCatDog: 12/01/14

cover art

BirdCatDog by Lee Nordling is a mostly wordless (the only words being at the start and finish of the book) graphic novel about a bird, a cat, and a dog. Or rather, it's three parallel but interconnected, mostly wordless, graphic novels: one about a bird, one about a cat, and one about a dog.

At the top of each page is the story of the bird, done in shades of sky blue. In the middle, is the story of the cat, done in shades of green. At the bottom is the story of the dog, done in oranges and reds.

The bird's story is one of flight, beginning with the escape from the birdcage hanging near an open window. With freedom, though, comes responsibility and danger. The bird soon finds itself being chased from below by the cat and from above by a bird of prey. The bird then must weigh the exhilaration of freedom against the guaranteed survival of captivity.

The cat, being a cat, can't help but go after the bird. In the process of being caught up in the thrill of the chase, it overlooks its own dangers (the dog for example). And like all cats, it knows how to lick its wounds nonchalantly when things don't turn out as expected.

Finally there's the dog who wants nothing but to get out of the backyard. But once free, there's more to do (like chase the cat and bark at the dog). It too finds the woods to be far more than expected.

As this short graphic novel progresses, more and more of the threads intertwine. There are other characters too who join in the fray. And at the end, the book asks the same question as the beginning: who is the hero of the story? Is it the bird? the cat? The dog? Or maybe one of the other characters introduced. As the book is so open ended, that answer is left up to the interpretation (and mood) of the reader.

Four stars

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