MR. FOOSTER: TRAVELING ON A WHIM, A VISUAL NOVEL, written by Tom Corwin, illustrated by Craig Frazier, Flying Dolphin Press, 101 pages, $14.95
Tom Corwin is an author and music producer whose book, "Mostly Bob," was a tribute to his golden retriever that suddenly passed away. Craig Frazier is a graphic designer and illustrator who writes children's books.
Corwin met Frazier after being impressed by a logo Frazier had done for the side of a landscaping truck. They hit it off and began having regular lunches to talk about their work. Then Corwin wrote the better part of a little book about Mr. Fooster, based on an illustration he saw in Frazier's studio.
When he presented it to him a few weeks later, Frazier was impressed, and they decided to collaborate.
Frazier sketched Mr. Fooster in pen-and-ink on moleskin paper. He used archival pens to create "a precise and fine line with a degree of tonal quality." Since there is no "erasing pen," he tried to do it perfectly the first time.
Like the authors, Mr. Fooster "seems like your average fellow, albeit one who likes to carry around an old bottle of bubble soap." Also a compass. On a Tuesday morning, Mr. Fooster walks into "a world where questioning assumptions can set you free."
When he realized he had walked so far that he would not be able to get home in time for bed, he got his bottle of bubble soap, found the little red wand and blew a bubble. The bubble turned into an old DeSoto sedan, just like the one his grandfather used to drive.
Although he was baffled, he hesitated only a few seconds before jumping into the DeSoto and driving it home. The next morning he listed the green DeSoto on eBay before going on another walking journey. As he walked toward the ocean, he wondered why ducks were so fuel-efficient, why you never see baby pigeons and who first thought of how you eat an artichoke?
Suddenly, Mr. Fooster was facing "a bug the size of a bulldozer" and decided he was "in hot water." The bug wanted to eat Mr. Fooster, but he was also curious about "the lightness in his step" and suspected he was "traveling on a whim. What makes you so content?"
Unsure how to respond to the bug, Mr. Fooster pulled out his bubble soap and blew another bubble. "It stretched, warped and swayed this way and that, bobbling and shnobbling, wibbling and wobbling its enormity became truly baffling." It grew even bigger than the DeSoto and the bug.
It looked like "an immense birdcage filled with vibrant floating tropical fish."
The bug was impressed and "he floated off into the horizon."
After Mr. Fooster went over a hilltop, he found a dying newt in a pothole, rescued it and placed it in a puddle. Then he reached the ocean and took a rowboat out into "the shimmering water." He started wondering "why bathtubs were always too short for comfort, how come the letter p was included in the word psychology, and what a burden gravity was when you had to move an oven."
Following this long journey, Mr. Fooster returned home, climbed between his "cozy cotton sheets" and slept for a week. But he was destined to take another journey. This time he was feeling grateful for spring. "Feeling his connection to all things, he realized he could be happy attached to the ground forever."This is a delightful visual novel that reflects on life's simple pleasures through thoughtful prose and illuminating, flawless drawings. It's a little keeper.