Miserably fails both the original Alcott classic and, more importantly, readers.

LITTLE WITCHES

MAGIC IN CONCORD

In this new graphic-novel take on Little Women, the March sisters are witches.

When two witch finders move in next door, the March women initially panic. But writer Augustus Laurence and his grandson, Laurie, say they pose no threat—they pursue only witches of the nefarious brand. Meanwhile, crotchety Aunt March insists on training the youngest sister, Amy, in proper witchcraft as her apprentice in exchange for her financial assistance. Jo is quickly distracted from her jealousy by the handsome, charismatic Laurie. When, as in the original story, Marmee departs Concord to visit their father in a Union hospital, the timing couldn’t be worse. Things begin to mysteriously disappear around town: a bolt of silk, a cow, and eventually an actual girl. The March sisters team up with Laurie to get to the bottom of the strange happenings. The witchcraft element isn’t the only departure from the original. Both Laurie and his grandfather are black, and they are not the only townspeople of color; all the Marches are white, however. This story goes awry when Augustus Laurence, a former slave, tells the girls that the reason Africans are slaves in America is because the plantation owners “use magic to keep the slaves tied to them and the land.” This supernatural revisionist history makes mockery of the factual history of kidnapping, brutality, and violence that kept Africans enslaved.

Miserably fails both the original Alcott classic and, more importantly, readers. (Graphic fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62010-553-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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