Insightful, amusing, and elegant.


A collection of 156 installments of a weekly comic strip by cartoonist Sattouf that follows the everyday life of a real Parisian girl—his friend's daughter—from ages 9 to 12 as she shares her thoughts on issues both timely and timeless.

Young Esther lives with her mother, father, and older brother (and eventually a baby brother) in Paris’ 17th arrondissement. They are of modest means but nevertheless send Esther to a private school—a decision Esther doesn’t quite understand but her beloved dad attributes to wanting to keep her safe from “little punks.” Being a working-class kid in a private school—where she is popular and does well in her studies—informs Esther’s perspective as she amusingly and insightfully narrates her thoughts on family, gender, celebrity, wealth, terrorism, religion, racism, politics, love, and flies. She also explores her fantastical dreams and aspirations to be a book editor. Sometimes Esther has the misunderstandings of a child (she mishears adult terms, like the name of a pornographic website), and sometimes those misunderstandings are more complex, like Esther’s feeling that homosexuality doesn’t make sense because having two dads would mean no one would be around to cook or clean the house, a belief based on her own family’s domestic dynamics. Esther’s opinions can be controversial, and she is obsessed with people’s appearances, but the innocence and bravado with which she explains them are reminders that the decency of the person is more important than the opinions they hold. Sattouf is a superb cartoonist, and each strip is a master class in the form. The serialized nature of the original makes some information repetitive, and the plot meanders with the seasons and discoveries of adolescent life. But the overall effect is a treat.

Insightful, amusing, and elegant.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-31692-4

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

A fun romp for aspiring ornithologists.



Do pigeons have superpowers?

In this lighthearted graphic adventure, Emilio is a born-and-raised New York City pigeon who spends his days scavenging human food with friends Winslow, a sparrow, and Carmen, a starling. Emilio loves the comic book Winged Heroes, lionizing the superhero raptors within its pages. In reality, the birds of prey that he idolizes see him as food, and when one of his romantic ideas takes him and his friends far from the safety of their roost, he sees the truth of the pecking order. A storm then blows the bird friends off into the countryside, leaving these city birds stranded. Soon Emilio learns that he may just have his own superpowers that will enable him to save Carmen and Winslow—and that there may be some truth to the Winged Heroes after all. Author Thompson has penned an engaging romp that slyly mixes bird facts into its fast-paced plot, showing readers the fascinating abilities many common birds possess. A mix of both narrative and nonfiction, this genre-busting full-color graphic novel works equally well as a pleasure read and in classroom settings, and it’s a must-have for fans of First Second’s Science Comics series. The majority of characters are avian, but the background human characters are racially diverse. Aftermatter includes a note on page navigation, discussion questions, and bird photographs and facts.

A fun romp for aspiring ornithologists. (Graphic animal fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-943645-21-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Cornell Lab Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Worthy of a place on the shelf next to Safe Area Gorazde, The Fixer, and Palestine. In just a few years, Sacco has created a...



Two stories of unusual mirth from Europe’s heart of darkness.

Sacco, who spent a lot of 1995 and 1996 in Bosnia as the war was winding down, turned his experiences into the gripping graphic novel Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia: 1992–1995 (2002). This slimmer work takes a pair of stories from the same period that didn’t fit into Gorazde’s narrative arc; far from seeming like leftovers, they create a perfectly matched diptych, though the images are not always the prettiest. In the first, “Christmas with Karadzic,” Sacco and a pair of journalist buddies go careening through the slush of a Bosnian winter to the town of Pale, where they have heard that Bosnian Serb president and black-hearted war criminal Karadzic is going to celebrate Christmas mass. It seems a perfect opportunity: Sacco can look into the face of evil, and his friend Kasey (a frenetic freelancer, “The King of Strings”) can get another story and another paycheck. But the actual event is a bit of letdown. Karadzic seems like just another politician, and they have to drive all over to find good audio of locals firing AK-47s into the air in celebration. This tale’s jauntiness is perfectly complemented by the mournful madness of “Soba!” Paying tribute to the eponymous Bosnian soldier/painter who became a media darling with his blend of haunted vet’s dolorousness and punk rock aggression, Sacco is as usual the fellow quietly listening in the midst of the maelstrom. He hangs in clubs until dawn with Sarajevans angrily celebrating the end of the conflict but not sure what they’re to do in the shattered aftermath. This is not a book about war, but rather about how people live with themselves in what passes for the peace that follows.

Worthy of a place on the shelf next to Safe Area Gorazde, The Fixer, and Palestine. In just a few years, Sacco has created a body of work that includes some of the most important and relevant graphic novels of our time.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-896597-92-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet