THE LIZARD PRINCE AND OTHER SOUTH AMERICAN STORIES

From the Cautionary Fables & Fairytales series

By turns gripping, haunting, and tender, this collection is a winner.

Descend into a world of magic, misfortune, and mischief in this comics anthology of South American folklore.

Retold by an array of artists and writers with roots in South America, these 12 stories run the gamut from bittersweet to eerie. Rick Lazo’s “The Muki’s Deal” kicks it all off with aplomb. Visiting a small Peruvian mining town, Kori fights off boredom by searching for little creatures known as Mukis. Entries offer clever modern takes on these traditional stories; in Rodrigo Vargas’ subversive Chilean “The Bum Who Tricked the Devil,” a man strikes a deal with the devil—here depicted as a loan banker—to save his sister from debt. Ghoulish humor, suspenseful twists, and a range of artistic styles make this an immensely appealing work. Recurring themes (respect for nature, survival in the face of oppression) pop up throughout, and a range of heroes, dreamers, and survivors step into the spotlight to prevail over foes familiar and fantastical. In Shadia Amin’s terrifying Colombian tale “Madre de Agua,” a sick girl is healed by the Mother of Water in the light of day and, in turn, must save her brother from the creature’s deathly grip under the shadow of night. In Lore Vicente’s stellar, titular tale, the prince and his lover must travel many miles separately to break the Lizard Witch’s curse and reunite.

By turns gripping, haunting, and tender, this collection is a winner. (Graphic anthology. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781638991212

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

SUPERNOVA

From the Amulet series , Vol. 8

Kibuishi gives his epic tale a hefty nudge toward its long-building climax while giving readers plenty of reasons to stick...

Stonekeeper Emily frees the elves from their monstrous masked ruler and sets out to rejoin her brother and mother in the series’ penultimate episode.

The multistranded storyline picks up with Emily’s return to the world of Alledia. Now a fiery, destructive phoenix struggling to regain control of her actions, Emily goes on to follow her brother Navin and allies as they battle invading shadows on the nearby world of Typhon, then switches back to human form for a climactic confrontation with the Elf King—in the course of which Emily rips off his mask to a chorus of “ERGH!! NO!!! GRAH! RRGH!! AAAGH!” to expose a rousingly hideous face. Cute animal heads on many figures (the result of a curse) and a scene with benevolent-looking trees provide at least a bit of relief from the grim expressions that all the human and humanoid elven characters almost invariably wear. But along with emphatic sound effects, the battle and action scenes in the cleanly drawn, if sometimes cramped, panels feature huge blasts of fire or energy, intricately detailed giant robots, weirdly eyeless monsters, and wild escapades aplenty to keep the pace’s pedal to the metal. Aliens and AIs in the cast come in a variety of hues, elves are a uniform gray, and except for a brief encounter between Emily and a slightly darker lad, the (uncursed) humans default to white.

Kibuishi gives his epic tale a hefty nudge toward its long-building climax while giving readers plenty of reasons to stick around for it. (Graphic fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-85002-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

SUNNY ROLLS THE DICE

From the Sunny series , Vol. 3

The dice are rolling readers’ way in this third outing.

Sunny, in seventh grade, finds her score on the Groovy Meter taking some wild swings as her friends’ interests move in different directions.

In a motif that haunts her throughout, Sunny succumbs to a teen magazine’s personality quiz and sees her tally seesaw radically. Her BF Deb has suddenly switched focus to boys, clothes, and bands such as the Bee Gees (this is 1977)—dismissing trick-or-treating and wearing galoshes on rainy days as “babyish.” Meanwhile, Sunny takes delight in joining nerdy neighbors Lev, Brian, and Arun in regular sessions of Dungeons and Dragons (as a fighter character, so cool). The storytelling is predominantly visual in this episodic outing, with just occasional snatches of dialogue and pithy labels to fill in details or mark the passage of time; frequent reaction shots deftly capture Sunny’s feelings of being pulled this way and that. Tellingly, in the Holms’ panels (colored by Pien), Sunny’s depicted as significantly smaller than Deb, visually underscoring her developmental awkwardness. Deb’s comment that “we’re too old to be playing games like that” leads Sunny to drop out of the D&D circle and even go to the school’s staggeringly dull spring dance. Sunny’s mostly white circle of peers expands and becomes more diverse as she continues to navigate her way through the dark chambers and misty passages of early adolescence. Lev is an Orthodox Jew, Arun is South Asian, and Regina, another female friend, has brown skin.

The dice are rolling readers’ way in this third outing. (Graphic historical fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-23314-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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