A pleasant romp for plot-happy readers.


On a journey to save his parents, a boy gets lost in an enchanted forest in this new graphic fantasy.

After retrieving medicine from a nearby village, Kerry is desperate to find the quickest way home to his ailing parents. When he finds a childlike spirit at the edge of the Forest of Shadows, he follows her into the woods, hoping for a shortcut. Soon, Kerry comes across a large, kite-shaped black stone with one singular piercing yellow eye. Floating above the ground and called the Knight of the Road, the creature is a Waystone whose role is to help travelers find safe passage through the forest. The last of his kind, he agrees to help Kerry navigate the perilous wood. But their journey isn’t easy, and Kerry’s naïve, earnest, and trusting personality sometimes grates on the grumpy, mysterious Waystone. When they learn that an evil force is vying for control of the forest’s creatures, Kerry must decide if he will attempt to free everyone from its spell, endangering both himself and his parents, or return home quickly to his sick family. While some of the plotting, particularly the denouement, feels contrived, readers will be happy to find such a tidy, happy ending. Overall, characterization takes a back seat to plot and adventure, an emphasis furthered by the simplicity of characters’ facial features. Character sheets, including a guide to creating your own character, and early concept art are included in the back.

A pleasant romp for plot-happy readers. (Graphic fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12523-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A classic story of outsiders making friends—with a little something more.


After moving to a new city, a girl attends a wilderness camp to help her make new friends.

When astronomy-obsessed 9-year-old Vega’s dad Wes gets a new job, the family moves from Portland to Seattle. Vega is not happy about this change and doesn’t want to leave her best friend behind, worrying they will grow apart. Vega’s dad Javi thinks making new friends will help her adjust, so he signs her up for Camp Very Best Friend, which is designed to help introverted local children build new friendships. Vega is not exactly eager to go but makes a deal with Wes, agreeing to try out camp as long as he tries to make a new friend too. It quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary outdoor adventure, and Vega and her fellow campers try to figure out what is really going on. The story smoothly incorporates STEM facts with insets on the page to define and highlight terms or tools. An unexpected twist toward the end of this fast-paced adventure that reveals the truth behind the camp will surprise readers. The clean, bright artwork is enhanced by panels of varying shapes and clear, easy-to-follow speech bubbles. Race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are not explicitly addressed; characters’ names and physical appearances indicate a broadly diverse cast starting with brown-skinned Vega and her two dads.

A classic story of outsiders making friends—with a little something more. (Graphic fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5566-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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When a young girl’s imagination and creativity are co-opted by a mysterious new friend, she must find a way to regain what is rightfully hers.

Sandy is a brown-skinned, dark-haired girl with big black eyes and a vivid imagination. At night, as she goes to sleep, she catches the lights bobbing about in her room and turns them into anything she imagines. The next day is spent drawing the fantastical creatures from her dreams, much to the detriment of her schoolwork. When a tall, pale-skinned girl with purple hair befriends her, Sandy is excited, though there is something eerie and unsettling about her new companion. Her excitement soon turns to anger as Morfie enters her imaginative nighttime world and tries to take it over. Readers will cheer at the clever way in which Sandy regains control. Using a lovely palette that includes a liberal amount of rich, dark purple, Colombian-born Alvarez has drawn a world that harks back to her native Bogotá and days in Catholic school, evoking it in wonderful detail and atmosphere. Her pages are not crowded yet are filled with details that will engage readers. The beings that inhabit Sandy’s nighttime world are simply delightful. The album size, cloth spine binding, and spot gloss on the cover are the icing on the cake of this beautiful graphic novel.

A winner. (Graphic fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-910620-13-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Nobrow Ltd.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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