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The Cartoons of Rescue Village: Twenty Years of Love and Lifesaving Through the Eyes of Cartoonist Jenny Campbell
Jenny Campbell
Animal lovers will delight in the warm and funny cartoons that nationally-syndicated cartoonist Campbell (creator of the “Flo And Friends” strip) has been drawing cartoons for the Rescue Village humane society for two decades, collected here for the first time. It's a testament to her skill as a cartoonist and her genuine love of animals that she never repeats herself in these cartoons originally crafted for the center’s pledge drives, instead always finding new ways to generate gentle laughs while striking a message of gratitude—many of the entries here, like one of a pup striking a John travolta Saturday Night Fever pose, are thank-you cartoons aimed at donors, but Campbell's charming skill gives them an accrued weight throughout the collection.

Campbell's sense of humor never strays from the center's primary purpose of showing how lives can be enriched by adopting pets, both with bon mots and heartfelt illustrations of love. The caption “I’ve got your back!” comes under a touching illustration of a cat and a human snug in bed together, and it could be coming from either or both figures. Even pleas for institutional assistance—such as a dog and cat saying “Uh...a little help, please?” while overwhelmed with baskets of darling kittens—are frisky delights.

The collection wisely forgoes details regarding when and where the cartoons were originally published and instead puts Campbell's expressive, fluid, and lighthearted linework front and center. Her focus on the foibles and personalities of the animals helps keep fresh what could have been a repetitive theme, and her skill as a cartoonist makes the drawings irresistible. Some highlight the staff, while others document the animals’ antics, and others imagine the residents of Rescue Village as Olympic athletes or an all-pet version of the cover of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. This collection is a testament to how nonprofits can succeed through wit, humanity, and repeated examples of the deep rewards of giving.

Takeaway: Charming cartoons celebrating rescue animals and the act of giving.

Comparable Titles: Dave Coverly; The New Yorker Book of Dog Cartoons.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A