Review by Matthew Nielsen
California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas by Pénélope Bagieu is a compelling biography of singer/actress Cass Elliot drawn in energetic, honest and expressive pencils. This graphic novel details various key moments from the life of the famed performer who was once known as “Mama Cass.” Bagieu does a great job capturing singing through her artwork and lettering, though to maximize the reading experience, it would help to be familiar with at least the song the book is named after. Bagieu also has done an excellent job of not only presenting a concise and efficient storyline but also painting a very favourable portrait of Cass Elliot, to the point where a reader could very well strongly appreciate and admire the singer through the power of the graphic novel alone. Along with that, the proud and bold curved lines that form the illustration of Elliot do not hold back. The artwork, especially when depicting Elliot, is very impressive.
This is a good story, and an even better one if you have a passion for music, especially Cass Elliot and the Mamas & the Papas.