Alice at Naptime is Masterful Poetry in Motion from Shea Proulx (Review)

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Alice at Naptime is an original graphic novel written and illustrated by Shea Proulx. The book is available now from Renegade Arts Entertainment – here is my review:

A poetic exploration of being both a new mother and an artist, told using her own unique graphic novel and fine art approach. When Alice was born her mother only found time to draw her while she napped. Gradually Alice is multiplied in a tapestry of selves, both large and small, while an overarching narrative whispers through the pages, musing on the meeting of former and future selves. At its core, Alice at Naptime tells a universal story, of a parent pining for past freedoms, while simultaneously descending down a rabbit hole of all-encompassing maternal love. (for full synopsis and order info – CLICK HERE)


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“As hard as I try, I’ll never be able to show just how beautiful I find her. Barf right? But that’s how I feel anyway.” – excerpt from Alice at Naptime.

A beautiful and mesmerizing dream sequence or baby sleep acid trip through a gorgeous garden of surreal moments? Alice at Naptime is masterful work from artist/writer Shea Proulx. The 192 page original graphic novel from Renegade Arts Entertainment is yet another jaw dropping addition to the Alberta indie comic publisher’s stunning library of original and unique works that rivals anything else one is likely to spot in the graphic novel section of their local book stores.

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Equal parts poetry and artistic expressionism – Alice at Naptime is a one-sitting read where you’ll find yourself getting lost in Proulx’ one-of-a-kind art style which blends dreamscapes with reality, resulting in an ever-changing ebb and flow of quiet moments frozen in time by her drawings and yet always fluctuating with every turn of the page. The novel is almost like a pop-up book without any actual physical pop-out effects. It’s a 3D comic without the need for 3D glasses. I’ve never seen anything like it but I know that I’m absolutely in love with what she’s created here. It’s an artistic diary of sorts where Proulx drew her little one in various states of sleep. Whether it’s a car seat, bed – doesn’t matter – we get this fascinating look into what the birth of a dream would look like as her baby sleeps away and the world explodes around her in magnificent ways.

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If I had any sort of criticism, it would be that the graphic novel may alienate non-parents? Though that I’m not completely sure of either, because as a father of three myself, this novel really struck several chords with me personally. I don’t know if a young reader looking for a more simple and structured narrative will be able to follow or appreciate Alice at Naptime as much as readers who are parents. That’s the only thing I can see being an issue, but if nothing else – anyone, parent or not, will be floored by Proulx’ artwork. The use of black and white, with an ever-changing and expanding library of colors which bleed into Alice’s dreams, is absolutely unlike anything else you’ll see in a comic book or graphic novel.

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I found myself constantly getting lost in these pages because of all the hidden details, but the real way to experience Alice at Naptime? Read it with your little ones at bedtime – or just read it to yourself whenever you’re feeling nostalgic about the days when your kids were this small and fragile. It’s truly a fascinating work of art and if you are open to literal poetry in motion, then Alice at Naptime is that graphic novel experience for you.

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