A new superhero series for chapter-book readers.
This series opener introduces readers to an 8-year-old superhero in the making. On her birthday, Meg receives a ring from her aunt and uncle after her aunt returns from an archaeological dig in Sweden. Though Meg receives numerous other gifts, including a gift from her father in Nigeria, it is the ring of a Swedish Viking girl warrior that intrigues Meg most and bestows magical powers on Meg. The illustrations are done in hues of orange, black, and gray and portray a diverse group of characters, establishing Meg, her mom, little brother, and aunt as black. While a black archaeologist is most welcome, the plot reinforces a familiar narrative that superpowers are the creation and domain of whiteness. With her Viking ring, Meg comes to embody in blackface an unthinking sense of innate white superiority. In this Black Panther era, when young black readers are attempting to find spaces in books and media that reflect black cultural values as a source of empowerment, this book, though light and seemingly nice, is at best a bland whitewash of culture and at worst a book that bolsters subliminal messaging of inferiority.
This book is a hard pass. (Fantasy. 6-9)