A nearly wordless tale, billed as “Level One” but probably with a more natural audience among teens or adults, centers on a long chase after a fugitive broken heart.
The departure of her best friend in a rocket ship leaves Penelope—depicted in the geometrical, silkscreen-style art with a human body and the head and tail of a fox—sitting beside the sea with her cracked heart in her lap. When that heart slips into the water and is carried away by dolphins, birds, a paper airplane and other agents, she pursues it, picking up a chicken-headed, cartwheeling companion she has met along the way. Penelope finds it at last in a “garden of lost things” but then sacrifices it to rescue her new friend from a toothy monster. In return, her new friend presents her with an egg that cracks open in the final scene to reveal an unmarked replacement heart. Sound effects and short lines of dialogue in the large sequential panels won’t help younger readers make sense of either the characters or the sketchy storyline.
A metaphorical journey toward healing from traumatic loss inspired, writes Rowe, by the death of her cat—not, as the cover protests, a “first comic for brand-new readers!” (Graphic picture book. 13 & up)