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A Flatlander's Guide to Maine'

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Whether you're from away' or not, you'll want this book

Some people are born lucky - others have to move to Maine from somewhere else. Mark Ricketts has a book for those poor souls: 'A Flatlander's Guide to Maine,' ($16.95, Islandport Press) is filled with amusing observations that have been colorfully illustrated by this famous flatlander.

Some may be familiar with Ricketts's work in The Bangor Metro with his column by colorful Maine native Earl Hornswaggle, the oldest man in the state. Or with 'Moose Mountain,' which classed up the weekly publication The Maine Edge (if that's possible). 

But if all of this is new to you, all the better. Because the only thing better than Maine is getting to experience it through the eyes of Mark Ricketts.

One of the things Ricketts does superbly well is enhance the parts of Maine that are funny without simply riffing on country bumpkin jokes. He so clearly loves the state, its history and its culture that when he jokes about it, it feels like a friend or a family joking with you. He doesn't just poke fun at Maine, he loves the state, he loves that it's funny, and he loves being a part of the joke. After all, who does every Maine native poke fun at? The Flatlander. The tourist. The people from away.

The book itself is part tongue-in-cheek guidebook, part humor column and part comics. You'll find Ricketts's unique take on flora, fauna, fashion and cuisine. He incorporates everything from Maine history and myth to some of the state's choices in recreation and landmarks.

And it's gorgeous. Ricketts's colorful illustrations pop from the pages, and you get a chance to see some of the full range of his talents as an artist as well as humorist. For any of our readers who have only seen Ricketts in newsprint, you have to check out the real thing. Ricketts has illustrated for Dark Horse Comics, 'Nickelodeon Magazine,' 'Playboy' and McGraw Hill - seeing his drawings in a glossy book is the only way to fully appreciate them.

Whether you're new to the state or you can trace your ancestry back to its founding, you'll get a kick out of 'A Flatlander's Guide to Maine.'

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