Evil Thing by Serena Valentino, illustrated by Arielle Jovellanos. Disney Hyperion, 2021. 9781368076111
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? This is the origin story of one of Disney’s most infamous villains, Cruella Deville! The graphic novel begins with Cruella asking the readers if it wasn’t fair for her to be able to tell her side of the story. We begin all the way in the beginning of her young life when she lived in her parents’ large mansion. Cruella narrates the story taking the reader through the earlier years of her childhood where we meet a young girl who was raised devoid of parental love and attention, showing us that Cruella was not always evil, but was once a child struggling for the love of her parents. Instead she received only the cold and often critical attention of her mother. We also see the moment when Cruella received her first Dalmation puppy. It was on her 18th birthday and was a gift from her father who had waited until he passed away to be able to fulfill her childhood wish of getting a puppy! The book humanized Cruella, if that is even possible to do to a fictional character. Do I dare even say you feel sorry for her as you watch how all her life all she wanted was the true love of family and never received it? The images are your typical graphic novel digital drawings but the colors are mainly neutrals and reds, which match the mood of Cruella’s dark character. This backstory was great and almost should be read first before reading the rest of the 101 Dalmations story.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? This is perfect for more mature young adult reader who is looking to learn more about Cruella beyond just the villainous character we meet in the Disney movie. Perfect story for ages 11 and older.
Who should buy this book? Middle schools and high schools
Where would you shelve it? Graphic novels
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Rose Metayer, Boston Latin School, Boston MA
Date of review: November 30, 2021