Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Maximillian Cold was a child of the richest, most ambitious, coldest family in town. To his family's horror, young Maxi wanted to be a musician. He adored playing the trumpet.
"Driven away by his father and his siblings, he joined The Band. It was all going quite well until he decided to play a bit of TINC-BLIN-TUT.
"The band leader didn't think this was a good idea at all, and Maxi was fired on the spot."
Clearly the band leader needs to broaden his musical horizons! I love me some TINC-BLIN-TUT! And TUT-FANN-BOO and even a bit of TEEP-BOON-KISH! But poor young Max's penchant for striking syncopated sounds is going to cause him to wander even deeper astray into the musical wilds than he could possibly ever imagine, on a weird, wintery adventure that will feature a most peculiar and petrified audience indeed.
Let's hear the publisher plinky plonk some scored notes out that will enchant all those of you who have been avidly waiting for this second seasonal composition, following on from the opening sonata that was the leaf-sweepingly autumnal THE TALES FROM THE HIDDEN VALLEY VOL 1: THE ARTISTS.
"Bundle up and get ready to spend the long winter with the charming creatures in Carles Porta's enchanting Hidden Valley. It's winter now in the hidden valley, and Maximus Cold has fallen into the valley, completely by mistake. Everyone thinks he's a strange, trumpet-playing monster who has kidnapped our wolf friend Yula!
One can only hope that the gang of friends, including the rabbits, Reindeer, the pixie onion-headed ballerina, and Yula's best friend Sara can save the day with some trumpeting of their own.
Dive into Carles Porta's elaborate world of enchanting, snowy forests and mysterious music and meet all the charming creatures of the Valley along the way."
First off, yes, Yula is back! Our lupine loonytune once again manages to clumsily collide herself into a comedic situation that's going to cause much consternation in the Valley. Happily for Yula, and indeed Mr. Maximillian Cold, the denizens of the disguised dale are on hand to confuse matters further... I mean help sort the situation out and ensure a happy ending!
As with the first volume, whilst the offbeat story certainly greatly amuses and enchants with its curious setup and quirky characters, the art then gracefully elevates this to another level entirely. The sense of movement Carles Porta engenders in his exquisite illustrations is just remarkable. And even though this time around everyone is well wrapped up against the grey and white chilly weather he's not spared the colour palette, going to town on everyone's scarves and jackets! There's some seriously flashy winter fashion on show in the Valley!
I think that Carles Porta must somehow have direct access to the fertile imaginations of small children because these works seem to capture the riotously fun madness that lies within their little heads just so perfectly. I think he's an extremely talented creator and all I can say is roll on spring time with HAPPY VALLEY VOL 3, sub-titled THE BAND, which might just give a teensy-weeny little clue away as to what the note-perfect happy ending in question to this volume might be...