Fun for a spooky night, anchored by likable characters and a zippy story.

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SCARLETT HART

MONSTER HUNTER

Following the path set by her renowned, deceased parents, young Scarlett Hart battles against monsters, ghouls, and all other kinds of dreadful things.

As an underage hunter, Scarlett must keep her activities a secret from the Royal Academy for the Pursuit and Eradication of Zoological Eccentricities; she must also contend with the vile Count Stankovic, a rival hunter who holds a personal vendetta against Hart. Aided by her wry butler, Napoleon, Scarlett hunts spectral hounds and mummies to earn just enough money to keep her little operation running. To keep on hunting means risking it all, especially when her nemesis manages to get Hart in trouble with the Academy. Monster hunt after monster hunt keeps the story whizzing along nicely, with plot developments and revelations sprinkled throughout in a rollicking manner. Rough and scrappy, Taylor’s illustrations convey ghoulish cool with subtle aplomb, even as moments of action get muddled at times from panel to panel. Muted colors and a London backdrop set an appropriate mood, casting the monsters and baddies in a particularly gruesome light. As more monsters pop up in Scarlett’s world, and the Count grows into an even bigger menace, the young hunter uncovers secrets both great and small. Meanwhile, rumors swirl about a book called the Codex Monstrorum and its dangerous properties. This graphic novel features a cast of mostly but not exclusively light-skinned characters, with a plucky, pale-skinned heroine at its center.

Fun for a spooky night, anchored by likable characters and a zippy story. (Graphic horror. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-15984-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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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Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

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THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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