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Katy England Katy England
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Adventures in Vacationland' - Ricketts brings a whimsical take on vacationing in Maine

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When you were young, any trip with your folks was an adventure all the more when you're on your way to Vacationland. Skilled artist and writer Mark Ricketts's new publication 'Adventures in Vacationland' ($17.95, Islandport Press) gives readers a peek into the mind of the imaginative young Joe as he and his family travel to Maine to 'rescue' his Auntie.

Joe's take on the adventure is slightly different than items you may read in other guides to Maine life, but it's also familiar to anyone who has been here. The land is ruled by moose, and you may have to detour around gargantuan Maine coon cats, traverse enormous lupine forests and perhaps have to battle a giant mech-lobster named Cracker.

Ricketts's style is vibrant, bright and engaging. And though the storyline is loose, it allows Rickets to really do what he does best draw some iconic Maine stereotypes in ways they've never been seen before. He takes on the rough roads, black flies and Galloway cows all through the eyes of a precocious kid. His artistic style alternates from the bright clean lines and graphic novel styles, to a sketch style representative of Joe's top-secret journal, with marginalia that is insightful and hilarious.

But one of the book's best features is reading between the lines. Each of the illustrations is just filled with subtle humor and detail (The massive coon cat that blocked the road earlier in the book can be seen in the skyline later in the story; you'll also spy lobsters making a break for it from the lobster pound).

This is one of those rare books that will be fun for both kids and adults to enjoy over and over whether you're from Maine or coming in from away.

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