A journey from swampy nothingness to fulfillment.
Lacuna knows her own name and little else. She cannot remember living anywhere other than the Great Swamp of Ink, where she senses that she is being watched. Polaris, a will-o’-the-wisp and magical guardian of the swamp, gives her a choice: Leave or die. Before heading north, Lacuna fills two gourds with swamp ink and soon encounters the Thicket of Tickets, where a forest of “admit one” tickets stands between her and the blue road leading to the Northern Kingdom. Once she emerges from the thicket and embarks upon the blue road, Lacuna realizes her trials are only beginning. Taking cues from The Wizard of Oz, Compton (The Outer Harbour, 2015, etc.) draws parallels between the confusing journey migrants face and Lacuna’s journey. Compton’s characters are intriguing; brown-skinned, curly–black-haired Lacuna is wily, smart, inventive, and empathetic, and her internal battles are thought-provoking. Her own resourcefulness and the different objects she gathers allow her to persevere in her perilous pilgrimage. Milne’s (The Imperfect Garden, 2019, etc.) loose illustrations are colorful, featuring many gradations of blues, greens, and browns, and effectively convey the intensity of the journey. As the story leaves unanswered questions, it begs for a sequel. Characters are diverse, ranging in skin tone from beige to dark brown.
A touching allegory of the unexpected and burdensome trials of migration. (Graphic fantasy. 12-16)