[ARC] The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale


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It was very hard to comment about this novel. The story begins in the 1907 with Cathy Wray, young and pregnant, escaping home to London to avoid losing her child to strangers. In London she finds work and home in the toy emporium of Papa Jack.

Papa Jack is a grumpy toy maker, able to craft wonderful toys, almost magical, compelling to every child, who see the emporium as a fantastic place to spend winter days.

Up to this point, The Toy Makers seems an innocuous story: Cathy is accepted, loved, we see beautiful games created by Papa Jack and his sons, Kaspar and Emil, both willing to contribute to the emporium activity.

But soon reality slightly creeps into this beautiful atmosphere: there are the memories of the war in Russia and the emigration to England, then the beginning of the first world war and the soldier’s trauma, and the familiar disputes due to jealousy and resentment, but how much is needed to break the emporium magic?

I needed some days to decide that I liked The Toy Makers a lot: the book takes unexpected paths; the apparent lightness of the context (the magical toys, like Emil’s toy soldiers) has instead more profound implications, partly determined by what happens in the world outside the emporium.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

* The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale ★★★★★

*I read this book in english

Vincent by Barbara Stok


Barbara Stok ripercorre la storia di Vincent Van Gogh a partire dal suo soggiorno ad Arles.

La graphic novel si concentra sull’emotività del pittore e il suo rapporto con l’arte: la costante spinta al miglioramento l’ha portato a essere autore di più di 800 tra quadri, disegni e schizzi, ma l’ossessione per l’arte e la pittura ha anche accentuato le crisi mentali.

Quello che dai quadri sembra un uomo serio, capace di intimidire, qui emerge nella sua fragilità.

Cruciale nella storia del pittore anche il rapporto con il fratello Theo, mercante d’arte e primo ad apprezzare lo stile di Vincent, sostenitore economico ed emotivo delle scelte del fratello.

Le immagini hanno tratti semplici e la storia ha diversi rimandi ai quadri dipinti da Van Gogh in quel periodo.


Barbara Stok narrates the story of Vincent Van Gogh since his stay in Arles.

The graphic novel focuses on the painter emotions and his relation with art: the constant strive to improve made him the author of more than 800 paintings, drawings and sketches, but his obsession with art and painting increased his mental illness.

The one that seems a serious man from the paintings here emerges in his fragility.

Another important element in the painter life is his relation with his brother, Theo, an art merchant and the first to understand Vincent’s style, an economic and emotional support of Van Gogh.

The images are simple and colorful and the story has various references to paintings done by Van Gogh in that period.


Vincent by Barbara Stok ★★★★☆