Dark, complex, and gratifying.

OKSI

This graphic adaptation of a story from Finnish folklore introduces Umi, a mother bear who is living in the woods with her brood: three male cubs and a girl they call Poorling.

Poorling is a magical creature with a small body and an oversized flame-shaped head who desperately wants to be a bear. She is quite curious and shamelessly eager to please her mother. Umi has defied her mother, Emuu, a celestial being who wants Umi to return home to the heavens. Emuu, in turn, enlists an enchanted waterbird named Scaup to work with Poorling in hopes of bringing Umi back. When Poorling commits a shocking act of violence, events are set in motion that perpetuate a cycle of brutal savagery. Ahokoivu brings the tale to life through digital art and a mix of ink and dreamy watercolors. The primarily black-and-white palette is punctuated with bursts of dazzling color. Populated by animals and magical creatures, the storyline meanders whimsically but then quickly shocks with its sudden eruptions of violence, a stark reminder of the harshness of the natural world and the powerful universality of wanting to belong. With its ethereal fairy-tale quality, this quietly challenging story of parents and children translated from the original Finnish is visually powerful and emotionally compelling.

Dark, complex, and gratifying. (note on names) (Graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64614-113-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Levine Querido

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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A warm, sweet, lovely tale of a world readers will want to live in.

ALWAYS HUMAN

In a not-so-distant future where changing one’s physical features is as easy as purchasing nanobot mods, Sunati falls for Austen, a girl who always looks the same.

Since Austen never changes, Sunati admires what she assumes is her bravery and confidence. As Sunati and Austen chat more, Austen bluntly asks Sunati if she only wants to get to know her more because of her medical condition, which prevents her from using mods. As they gradually grow closer, Sunati learns how to interact more respectfully with those who have overactive immune systems as well as to share her feelings more honestly. Austen, in turn, learns to trust Sunati. This beautifully illustrated slice-of-life tale that shows two young women of color getting to know each other and creating a relationship is so warm and charming that readers will hardly notice how much they are learning about how to better interact with folx who are different from themselves and the importance of not making assumptions. The story also successfully weaves in agender, genderfluid, and asexual characters as well as the subjects of parenting and colorism into the natural arc of Sunati and Austen’s developing story. The soft, romantic artwork evokes hazy watercolors. The speech bubbles are predominantly pink and blue, and the varied layout will maintain readers’ interest.

A warm, sweet, lovely tale of a world readers will want to live in. (Graphic romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1110-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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THE ODYSSEY

Hinds adds another magnificent adaptation to his oeuvre (King Lear, 2009, etc.) with this stunning graphic retelling of Homer’s epic. Following Odysseus’s journey to return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, readers are transported into a world that easily combines the realistic and the fantastic. Gods mingle with the mortals, and not heeding their warnings could lead to quick danger; being mere men, Odysseus and his crew often make hasty errors in judgment and must face challenging consequences. Lush watercolors move with fluid lines throughout this reimagining. The artist’s use of color is especially striking: His battle scenes are ample, bloodily scarlet affairs, and Polyphemus’s cave is a stifling orange; he depicts the underworld as a colorless, mirthless void, domestic spaces in warm tans, the all-encircling sea in a light Mediterranean blue and some of the far-away islands in almost tangibly growing greens. Don’t confuse this hefty, respectful adaptation with some of the other recent ones; this one holds nothing back and is proudly, grittily realistic rather than cheerfully cartoonish. Big, bold, beautiful. (notes) (Graphic classic. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4266-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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