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In the Small by Michael Hague

I’m knee-deep in ballet autobiographies and biographies and needed a little light reading, so I picked through the graphic novel section at the Cortelyou branch of the Brooklyn Library and found a couple of likely candidates. In the Small by Michael Hague is a one-story-complete graphic novel about what happens one day when a mysterious blue light flashes and turns all human beings into miniatures of themselves at six inches tall or under.

Two siblings nicknamed Beat (she’s formally named after Beatrix Potter) and Mouse (after Hieronymous Bosch) end up becoming leaders of the humans that remain in their areas–Mouse at his Manhattan office and Beat someplace in Westchester, I’m guessing. Mouse experiences visions and actually has one predicting the event just minutes before it actually happens. He gets feelings about things and uses these psychic powers to guide the pint-sized humans toward his house in Westchester, which is conveniently surrounded by a tall fence to keep out predators and has plenty of arable land to grow things with a stream running through it.

Many humans don’t survive the moment of shrinking, which becomes known as The Fall, and the people that do find those they used to master, such as cats and dogs, are now predators. After reading In the Small, I spent about an hour staring at my cat and trying to figure out when and if she would eat me. I decided she would after three or four days of having no full-sized humans around to open the cans of Friskies. And my death would be vicious and so not quick. I’ve seen Ellie, my girl cat, take down a mouse and play with it for hours on end, tossing it from paw to paw like the Swedish Chef does with kitchen implements on The Muppet Show.

There are great ideas in the graphic novel In the Small and some terrifically gruesome pictures, also done by Michael Hague, which makes one wonder what it would be like to be devoured by ants. Overall, though, I found the story underdeveloped. There’s so much more that could be done with this idea. Perhaps Hague will take up his pencil again and continue with the story one day.

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