Miserably fails both the original Alcott classic and, more importantly, readers.

LITTLE WITCHES

MAGIC IN CONCORD

In this new graphic-novel take on Little Women, the March sisters are witches.

When two witch finders move in next door, the March women initially panic. But writer Augustus Laurence and his grandson, Laurie, say they pose no threat—they pursue only witches of the nefarious brand. Meanwhile, crotchety Aunt March insists on training the youngest sister, Amy, in proper witchcraft as her apprentice in exchange for her financial assistance. Jo is quickly distracted from her jealousy by the handsome, charismatic Laurie. When, as in the original story, Marmee departs Concord to visit their father in a Union hospital, the timing couldn’t be worse. Things begin to mysteriously disappear around town: a bolt of silk, a cow, and eventually an actual girl. The March sisters team up with Laurie to get to the bottom of the strange happenings. The witchcraft element isn’t the only departure from the original. Both Laurie and his grandfather are black, and they are not the only townspeople of color; all the Marches are white, however. This story goes awry when Augustus Laurence, a former slave, tells the girls that the reason Africans are slaves in America is because the plantation owners “use magic to keep the slaves tied to them and the land.” This supernatural revisionist history makes mockery of the factual history of kidnapping, brutality, and violence that kept Africans enslaved.

Miserably fails both the original Alcott classic and, more importantly, readers. (Graphic fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62010-553-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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This winning paranormal uses witchcraft to explore adolescent rebellion.

THE OKAY WITCH

From the Okay Witch series , Vol. 1

It is Halloween when Moth Hush finds out she is descended from a line of witches.

Her mother reveals the story of their witch origins going back to 17th-century Europe, which Moth’s maternal grandmother, Sarah, fled along with her order for supposed safety in Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, only to find persecution there. Led by Sarah, the witches escaped the wrath of the Puritans through a blood ritual that opened a portal to Hecate, a spiritual realm that provided safety. Moth’s mother rebelled and broke away from the coven to live in the real world, ultimately as a single parent to Moth in the 21st century. After a talking black cat (the spirit of a deceased neighbor) appears and befriends Moth, Moth peeks at her mother’s diary—which opens a portal to Hecate, and Moth secretly begins to practice spells unsupervised and to connect with her family there. Moth and family sort through a complicated lineage whose legacy reveals itself to be very much alive in present-day Founder’s Bluff. In Steinkellner’s graphic panels, Moth and her family have brown skin and puffy dark hair, and the 17th-century coven is shown to be multiracial. The complex history provides a mechanism through which Moth sorts through her own coming-of-age as a modern girl of color, and it’s the loving, oftentimes humorous rapport among the Hush women that grounds this graphic novel.

This winning paranormal uses witchcraft to explore adolescent rebellion. (Graphic fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3146-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Kibuishi gives his epic tale a hefty nudge toward its long-building climax while giving readers plenty of reasons to stick...

SUPERNOVA

From the Amulet series , Vol. 8

Stonekeeper Emily frees the elves from their monstrous masked ruler and sets out to rejoin her brother and mother in the series’ penultimate episode.

The multistranded storyline picks up with Emily’s return to the world of Alledia. Now a fiery, destructive phoenix struggling to regain control of her actions, Emily goes on to follow her brother Navin and allies as they battle invading shadows on the nearby world of Typhon, then switches back to human form for a climactic confrontation with the Elf King—in the course of which Emily rips off his mask to a chorus of “ERGH!! NO!!! GRAH! RRGH!! AAAGH!” to expose a rousingly hideous face. Cute animal heads on many figures (the result of a curse) and a scene with benevolent-looking trees provide at least a bit of relief from the grim expressions that all the human and humanoid elven characters almost invariably wear. But along with emphatic sound effects, the battle and action scenes in the cleanly drawn, if sometimes cramped, panels feature huge blasts of fire or energy, intricately detailed giant robots, weirdly eyeless monsters, and wild escapades aplenty to keep the pace’s pedal to the metal. Aliens and AIs in the cast come in a variety of hues, elves are a uniform gray, and except for a brief encounter between Emily and a slightly darker lad, the (uncursed) humans default to white.

Kibuishi gives his epic tale a hefty nudge toward its long-building climax while giving readers plenty of reasons to stick around for it. (Graphic fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-85002-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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