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ABADAZAD by J.M. DeMatteis


The Road to Inconceivable, Book 1

by J.M. DeMatteis & illustrated by Mike Ploog

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4231-0062-X
Publisher: Hyperion

Expanded from a well-received comic into a hybrid text-and-graphic-novel format, this first of a planned four episodes introduces sullen-but-sensitive teen diarist Kate Jameson. Still grieving five years after the mysterious disappearance of beloved little brother Matt, she finds herself transported from Brooklyn to the land of Abadazad, the distinctly Oz-like setting of a supposedly fictional series of tales with a distinctly Oz-like publishing history. In frequent illustrations that occasionally expand to take over the plot entirely for a few pages, Kate presents an appealingly homely look, with a bulbous nose and ratty hair offset by big, widely set eyes. That, plus the mix of adolescent hostility and shy vulnerability in her narrative, will win younger readers over, as will Abadazad, with its benevolent three-eyed, blue-skinned Queen, its dessert-bearing trees, odd wildlife and carnivorous Sour Flowers. Kate finds a firm friend and guide in Little Martha, brown-skinned heroine of the original metafictional tales and, receiving confirmation that Matt is alive, kidnapped by Abadazad’s sinister Lanky Man, has her future course laid out. A promising start for readers between Jennifer and Matt Holms’s Babymouse (2005) and Jeff Smith’s Bone (2005). (Fantasy. 8-10)