Thursday, March 31, 2011

Penguin vs Polar Bear (and other ridiculous cartoons) - Book review

This a review from the April issue of The Jester, magazine of the Cartoonists' Club.

Here's another excellent addition to my cartoon book collection. ‘Penguin vs Polar Bear (and other ridiculous cartoons)’ by Royston Robertson is 104 pages of gags that have graced the pages of Private Eye, Readers Digest, The Spectator, Prospect and countless other magazines here and abroad. (In the case of the title cartoon, it also featured on t-shirts for a South Pole expedition! Cartoons don’t get much cooler than that. Ha.)

A lot of thought has obviously gone into picking the gags for this book and they really are excellent throughout - it’s testament to Royston’s 15 years of producing quality work that none feel like filler. I really liked the way cartoons flowed too - for example, a few pages of mediaeval type gags would lead to a Bayeux Tapestry gag which would in turn lead on to several art themed gags, and so on. Works well I think. There’s even room for a few cartooning clichés - the perennial ‘desert island’ gag is given a fresh and funny slant several times.

If you read some of the magazines that use Royston’s cartoons, or regularly check out his blog, you’ve probably seen a few of the gags at some point, but don’t let that put you off purchasing the book. It’s great to enjoy them as a collection, and in my case there were still plenty of cartoons completely new to me. It's hard to pick out favourites, so I won't. Oh, ok then...

I particularly liked the ‘Adam names the animals’ gag which makes me smile every time I see it, and the splendidly funny ‘abstract expressionist face painting’ gag. With a bit of luck and Royston’s permission, one of those will hopefully be printed with this review!

In the foreword, Royston hopes that you laugh a lot. I certainly did, so mission accomplished, Mr Robertson!

You can order a copy of the book for only £5.99 plus £1 p&p from his online shop at


Royston Robertson said...

Thanks for the review, Tim. And yes, you have permission to reproduce the cartoon ;-)

TimHarries said...

Excellent! Was worried lawyers would get involved... :)