Inventive work by some of comics’ most distinguished artists makes these tributes a triumph.

READ REVIEW

LITTLE NEMO'S BIG NEW DREAMS

Thirty-one graphic artists pay homage to newspaper cartoonist Winsor McCay.

In the early 1900s, Winsor McCay’s “Little Nemo in Slumberland,” a comic strip about a young boy’s fantastical dreams, was a hit for the New York Herald. A century later, Locust Moon Press commissioned 118 artists to draw fresh takes on “Little Nemo”—31 of which are collected here. Each contribution riffs off the signature elements of McCay’s work, including the cast of characters, the full-color art nouveau drawings, and the imaginative paneling and layouts. (The collection is practically a master class in the structural possibilities of graphic storytelling.) The comics will work best for slightly older readers. While young children will enjoy some of the stories (Maris Wicks and Joe Quinones’ amusing comic takes Nemo through a dinosaur’s digestive track), strips by Bishakh Kumar Som, Marc Hempel, and others have an adult sensibility. Also, because these works were commissioned at a much larger broadsheet size and later shrunk for this showcase, some feel slightly crowded on the page and require a little extra patience to read. Fans hungry for more should investigate the complete collection, Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream (2014), in its massive, oversized glory.

Inventive work by some of comics’ most distinguished artists makes these tributes a triumph. (foreword, introduction, contributors’ bios, bibliography) (Graphic anthology. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-935179-87-0

Page Count: 72

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A must-read graphic novel that is both heart-rending and beautifully hopeful.

WHITE BIRD

A WONDER STORY

A grandmother shares her story of survival as a Jew in France during World War II.

As part of a homework assignment, Julian (Auggie’s chief tormentor in Wonder, 2012) video chats with Grandmère, who finally relates her wartime story. Born Sara Blum to a comfortable French Jewish family, she is indulged by her parents, who remain in Vichy France after 1940. Then, in 1943, after the German occupation, soldiers come to Sara’s school to arrest her and the other Jewish students. Sara hides and is soon spirited away by “Tourteau,” a student that she and the others had teased because of his crablike, crutch-assisted walk after being stricken by polio. Nonetheless, Tourteau, whose real name is Julien, and his parents shelter Sara in their barn loft for the duration of the war, often at great peril but always with care and love. Palacio begins each part of her story with quotations: from Muriel Rukeyser’s poetry, Anne Frank, and George Santayana. Her digital drawings, inked by Czap, highlight facial close-ups that brilliantly depict emotions. The narrative thread, inspired by Palacio’s mother-in-law, is spellbinding. In the final pages, the titular bird, seen in previous illustrations, soars skyward and connects readers to today’s immigration tragedies. Extensive backmatter, including an afterword by Ruth Franklin, provides superb resources. Although the book is being marketed as middle-grade, the complexities of the Holocaust in Vichy France, the growing relationship between Sara and Julien, Julien’s fate, and the mutual mistrust among neighbors will be most readily appreciated by Wonder’s older graduates.

A must-read graphic novel that is both heart-rending and beautifully hopeful. (author’s note, glossary, suggested reading list, organizations and resources, bibliography, photographs) (Graphic historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64553-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Striking visuals augment an already-captivating tale.

MESSENGER

THE LEGEND OF JOAN OF ARC

Having tackled Robin Hood in Outlaw (2009) and King Arthur in Excalibur (2011), Lee now envisions Joan of Arc's humble beginnings to her inevitable martyrdom.

In 15th-century France, war and turmoil are constants as the French struggle to throw off English rule. Jehanne d'Arc, a devout country maiden, begins to receive messages from God after a fall and a consequent hit to her head. Her divine voices instruct her how to lead the French out of their occupation and restore the monarchy. At a time when women could be condemned for simply wearing men’s clothes or cutting their hair, Joan is a fearless trailblazer who leads by faith, strength, and conviction even though she knows that she will eventually be martyred for her efforts. Joan is evinced as a stubborn, confident heroine, but Lee keeps her likable by emphasizing her love of her family as well as her piety. Though Joan's fate is foretold in the opening pages, a heroic blend of epic battles and palpable wartime tension keep the pages flying. Illustrator Hart cleverly plays with perspective in many panels, some offering over-the-shoulder or from-the-ankles-up views of a scene and others zooming out with shadowy, indistinct features, then sharply juxtaposing the next with clear, close-up shots of emotive and defined faces, creating a dramatically cinematic feel. He and co-colorist Costa keep tight control over palette and lighting to complement this effect.

Striking visuals augment an already-captivating tale. (Graphic historical fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7613-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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