A winner.

READ REVIEW

NIGHTLIGHTS

When a young girl’s imagination and creativity are co-opted by a mysterious new friend, she must find a way to regain what is rightfully hers.

Sandy is a brown-skinned, dark-haired girl with big black eyes and a vivid imagination. At night, as she goes to sleep, she catches the lights bobbing about in her room and turns them into anything she imagines. The next day is spent drawing the fantastical creatures from her dreams, much to the detriment of her schoolwork. When a tall, pale-skinned girl with purple hair befriends her, Sandy is excited, though there is something eerie and unsettling about her new companion. Her excitement soon turns to anger as Morfie enters her imaginative nighttime world and tries to take it over. Readers will cheer at the clever way in which Sandy regains control. Using a lovely palette that includes a liberal amount of rich, dark purple, Colombian-born Alvarez has drawn a world that harks back to her native Bogotá and days in Catholic school, evoking it in wonderful detail and atmosphere. Her pages are not crowded yet are filled with details that will engage readers. The beings that inhabit Sandy’s nighttime world are simply delightful. The album size, cloth spine binding, and spot gloss on the cover are the icing on the cake of this beautiful graphic novel.

A winner. (Graphic fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-910620-13-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Nobrow Ltd.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Definitely on the Wimpy Kid bandwagon, but less vicious with the satire and therefore all the more welcome. (Graphic novel....

ARIOL

JUST A DONKEY LIKE YOU AND ME

From the Ariol series , Vol. 1

Scenes from the life of a middle-grade Everydonkey.

Aside from a few tears after being suddenly struck by the expressions “dumbass” and “dumb as a donkey” (his mother gently joshes him out of his funk), Ariol travels a relatively gentle emotional landscape in this series opener. Giggle-inducing episodes usually involve Ariol’s friend Ramono the pig, who sets off a nose-to-nose, no-hands game of “pass the tissue” at school and later brings fake vomit on a class outing (“My dad had bought it to play a joke on my mom, before their divorce”). Other experiences range from providing commentary for a triumphant tennis match against illusory opponent Stevie McFailure to cutting up in gym and, in the finale, suffering a nightmare in which he has to choose between class crush Petula the cow or becoming an interstellar knight with beloved equine superhero Thunder Horse. Boutavant arranges the all-animal cast in large sequential panels that never look crowded even when the dialogue balloons multiply.

Definitely on the Wimpy Kid bandwagon, but less vicious with the satire and therefore all the more welcome. (Graphic novel. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59707-399-8

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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