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SCULLION

A DISHWASHER'S GUIDE TO MISTAKEN IDENTITY

A pleasant fantasy.

A boy, captured by confused trolls, leads his captors on a daring adventure.

In the medieval town of Timberwood lives Darlis—a scullion in the kitchen of his idol, the Great Warrior Riqa—where he dreams of being a royal baker. Troll siblings Grubble and Petey have come across the bridge into town with schemes to get rich. In a slapstick case of mistaken identity, they confuse a harried Darlis for Riqa and kidnap him for ransom. When Mae, Darlis’ new friend and co-worker, makes her way to the forest where he is being held in an effort to rescue him, the trolls capture her as well. Meanwhile, the betrothed Riqa sneaks out of the castle—where she’s been sequestered during the royal wedding weekend—in search of her prince. With Timberwood in a tizzy over the uncertain outcome of the wedding, our heroes must fight to escape from the forest. The two storylines converge, and shenanigans ensue. Readers looking for a light adventure may enjoy this story with an intrepid male character who looks up to a woman warrior. Greene uses a bright palette of reds, purples, and greens, deepening the shades to emphasize the more suspenseful scenes. The light line strokes work well with the amusing tone. Darlis is white while Riqa and Mae have tan skin and purple and orange hair, respectively; the prince is black.

A pleasant fantasy. (Graphic fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62010-753-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

From the Manga Classics series

Shakespeare’s fantastical dream in an appealing format that can be shared with a wider audience.

Manga that brings to life Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy.

This third entry in Manga Classics’ adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays maintains their practice of reproducing the full text of the original. The black-and-white illustrations allow readers to easily follow the plot while also picking up on subtle themes that are significant to understanding the play. For example, the abundant imagery surrounding the moon is emphasized by the moon’s presence in the backgrounds of many panels throughout the book, drawing readers’ attention. Long dialogues are also explained visually, which allows young readers to grasp what is being discussed without the need for a glossary or translation into modern English. The nobility is portrayed in a typical manga fashion with large eyes, small noses, and well-defined ears—but with appropriate Grecian clothing—while the commoners are easily visually distinguishable from them in style. The guide to reading manga at the beginning unfortunately describes the right-to-left reading order as “backwards from the normal books you know,” a strangely judgment-laden description for a book using manga to broaden the cultural exposure of young readers. However, the creators’ notes at the end offer fascinating insights into the adaptation process and may inspire budding manga artists to attempt their own works.

Shakespeare’s fantastical dream in an appealing format that can be shared with a wider audience. (cast, creators’ notes, character design sheet) (Graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947808-10-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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ALWAYS HUMAN

A warm, sweet, lovely tale of a world readers will want to live in.

In a not-so-distant future where changing one’s physical features is as easy as purchasing nanobot mods, Sunati falls for Austen, a girl who always looks the same.

Since Austen never changes, Sunati admires what she assumes is her bravery and confidence. As Sunati and Austen chat more, Austen bluntly asks Sunati if she only wants to get to know her more because of her medical condition, which prevents her from using mods. As they gradually grow closer, Sunati learns how to interact more respectfully with those who have overactive immune systems as well as to share her feelings more honestly. Austen, in turn, learns to trust Sunati. This beautifully illustrated slice-of-life tale that shows two young women of color getting to know each other and creating a relationship is so warm and charming that readers will hardly notice how much they are learning about how to better interact with folx who are different from themselves and the importance of not making assumptions. The story also successfully weaves in agender, genderfluid, and asexual characters as well as the subjects of parenting and colorism into the natural arc of Sunati and Austen’s developing story. The soft, romantic artwork evokes hazy watercolors. The speech bubbles are predominantly pink and blue, and the varied layout will maintain readers’ interest.

A warm, sweet, lovely tale of a world readers will want to live in. (Graphic romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1110-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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