Page 45 Review by Stephen
Page 45 celebrates the triumphant return of Professor Lizz Lunney, BSC Engineering (Sturdy Paper & Coloured Cardboard Division), with the release into the wild of this whimsical build-your-own public playpen in all the colours of the rainbow and several shades in between.
In other less nimble or accredited hands (like yours) it could easily become a potential paper death-trap from which you may never recover after being sued for billions of dollars.
But not if you use glue sticks and safety scissors, obviously.
Those familiar with Lizz Lunney's unique brand of behavioural observation from all her comics which we've reviewed in Page 45's Page 45's Lizz Lunney Superstore should note that - this being aimed squarely at a wholesome mass mainstream market (it's published by industry giants Andrews McMeel!) - it focuses much more on Lunney's equally iconic design work and the boltless stable of instantly recognisable characters which she's built up for over a decade, and it is they who populate this paper palace, its environs and methods of transport.
Never have mountains looked more serene, beatific, nor bipedal cats so content nor unicorns more sprightly, better groomed. We're talking bright jaw-dropping spectacle, with an infectious dreaminess that will have young ones creating not just this theme park but also spontaneous stories about all those cool cats bumping into each other via road, river or rail, or indeed drenched to soggy-moggie bits after a dip in the Frog Mayhem log flume.
When Philippa Rice created Page 45's cardboard window diorama in 2012, I overheard one five-year-old boy breathlessly explaining to his granddad what all the characters were up to, thinking and saying to each other. He was entranced, absorbed in his own little world which was as vividly alive to him as the pedestrians passing by on the pavement. Similarly, when young, I'd spend hours moving Matchbox motorcars back and forth from poll position to sabotaged, quicksand quagmires, narrating the whole as an episode of the Wacky Races.
So it will be here!
There are no perforated pages - some of the elements are too intricate for that - so you will need a pair of scissors and a steady, perhaps parentally guided hand. But hey, if you end up drunk with joy from all the deliciously coloured mountain cones, battlements, the Carousel of Blissful Content or even on cracked-ice mojitos and so accidently cut off one of Depressed Cat's ears, he'll just shrug that off as the price he pays for even getting up of a morning.
You'll find Depressed Cat manning the entrance's ticket booth where a moment of trademark mischief aptly surfaces: "Lizzneyland: Fun For Half The Family".
Further interaction, creativity and individuality is encouraged towards the back of the book when La Lunney proposes that you venture outside her template to incorporate ideas of your own or start from scratch on multiple new models for theme parks.
Name of Park
Like Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre's PUG-A-DOODLE-DO! A BUMPER BOOK OF FUN!, she leads you in with her own examples then leaves blank areas to be filled in like the above, but also designing a logo for your park, drawing a map of it, and creating your own rides, visitors, special attractions, balloons, gift shops, vending machines, emergency medical vehicles and riot police.
What I love above all about this is that if you take it to its conclusion - actually building your very own theme park - then not only will your imagination be galvanised, but you'll be able apply a practical understanding of tabs, learned from Lunney's tutelage. That's genuinely empowering.
Anyway, I thought I'd take a shot at the first part myself.
Name of Park: Armageddon Outta Here (Not Alive, You're Not)
Theme: Death by disembowelment, general dismemberment, sundry other injuries, food poisoning etc.
Rides: The Titanic, Submarine of Questionable Buoyancy and Well Worn Rubber Hatch Seals, Midnight Florida Swamp of Racist Residents, Deathtrap 5000AD (Auto-Immolation Edition).
Characters: Horsemen of the Apocalypse (4), Very Grim Reaper (1), Slightly Stern Preachers (7), Satan (actually Satan - we have him on eternal retainer), Ann Widdecombe.
Other Attractions: dungeon of invisible, hissing snakes; fast-food stall selling choke ices, slush puppies (puppies, post-blender), hot dogs (guess); and an understaffed hospital immediately adjacent to its on-site cemetery.
Should you find yourself, post-assembly, in the sticky situation of being taken to post-park-ride court, then Page 45 is giving away millions if not trillions of Lizzneyland Lunneymoney bank notes. For FREE! We've loads of free Lunneymoney at the counter, or you can claim it whenever you order any item for worldwide shipping via page 45.com by simply adding a note in our dispatch instructions saying something like "Give us your Lunneymoney, honey!"
N.B. Lunneymoney is perfectly legal tender; you just need to visit Lizzneyland to redeem it. I have been asked, wide-eyed, by many a Small Person, "But how do I visit Lizzneyland?" Not by fractured rail, physical aeroplane flight or asphalt acceleration, that's for sure. Several hard knocks to the skull should do it instead. Then again, now you can create your own.
For comics more in keeping with the last few paragraphs, please visit Page 45's Lizz Lunney Superstore wherein all has been reviewed for worldwide shipping.