A homespun fairy tale full of spells, secrets, and romance.

BRIGHTLY WOVEN

A magical boy enlists a provincial weaver to thwart a war between kingdoms.

Sydelle Mirabil, 14, is a talented weaver living with her parents in their quiet, drought-plagued village in the kingdom of Palmarta. One day, angst-y Wayland North—a rainbow-cloaked, 15-year-old wizard—suddenly appears in her life and sweeps her up into a dangerous adventure. He claims to need her help in both navigating kingdoms and mending his enchanted cloaks in order to deliver a report that reveals the identity of the king’s assassin. With a magical swish of North’s multicolored mantles, the duo travels throughout the realms, trying to stay a step ahead of North’s nefarious nemesis, Dorwan, and the impending war he seeks to bring. Sydelle is a feisty heroine, and the sparks between her and North quickly ignite as their banter and relationship gradually warm. Based on Bracken’s 2010 YA fantasy of the same name, this full-color graphic adaptation lowers its protagonists’ ages a bit for a middle-grade audience. Imbued with magic and romance, it holds true to fairy-tale tropes; those looking for a comfort read should heartily enjoy the journey to its happy ending. Seaton’s exciting and expressive illustrations keep their perspective squarely focused on the action. Both Sydelle and North present white; secondary characters have more varied skin tones.

A homespun fairy tale full of spells, secrets, and romance. (Graphic fantasy. 8-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-01588-2

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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