We started collecting this series when she was eight, and a slow reader. She never had the interest in books like her older sister. In fact she said she 'did not want to read', that was ' her sister's job'.
So we landed on this clever French series, as 'something different'.
This shows how smurfs make their food, and how even a talented smurf can feel put upon if he has to work to hard without appreciation - a lovely morality play
In the 12 months we have been reading these books, collecting the entire set. We have become smurf - addicts. More importantly Hazel has become a competent reader, and has completed the Harry Potter series and now reads pretty much anything.
The main story, "Smurf Soup", is the original version of the cartoon show episode "Soup A La Smurf". In this story, Gargamel meets Bigmouth, the hungry ogre (giant in this version) who's looking for food to satisfy his appetite. Gargamel sends him into the forest to look for the Smurf Village so he could have Smurf soup, and while Gargamel goes far and wide to find the village, Bigmouth simply follows a Smurf flying overhead on a stork and gets there to bother the Smurfs about making Smurf soup. Most of the story is about the Smurfs stalling for time so that Papa Smurf can prepare the potion to put into the Smurf soup that...well, turns Bigmouth against the evil wizard and demanding for an antidote.
The second story, "Gargamel And The Crocodile", is a short four-page story about Gargamel raising a crocodile that goes after the Smurfs. The creature gets loose and the king sends his knights to go deal with it after the Smurfs flee from it while they are at the beach swimming.
The third story, "The Clockwork Smurf", is an adaptation of the cartoon show episode. There's no King Gerard in this version, but there is a talking Clockwork Smurf who makes sarsaparilla soup that he dispenses from his hat. Gargamel gets a hold of this creation and makes a duplicate Clockwork Smurf that dispenses a fake sarsaparilla that turns the Smurfs into mutants. A word to parents: it does contain a scene where Gargamel and Azrael get rather tipsy drinking wine. (Interesting thing to note: this story originally was a multi-part story ad for Benco chocolate drink powder that had an anthropomorphic Benco bottle in the place where Clockwork Smurf occupies in the story, as indicated when some of the fluid that gets poured out of Clockwork Smurf's hat inexplicably turns granular near the end of the story.)
With the exception of Grouchy's "me, I don't like..." (I still prefer "I hate..."), the translation of these stories is excellent.
This Papercutz series of Smurf comics has become a "when's the next one coming out, dad?" favorite of our daughter since she was 8. She has them all and always rereads them in between her heavier reading or before bed.