The Midwinter Witch

The Midwinter Witch completes the trilogy Molly Knox Ostertag began with The Witch Boy and continued with The Hidden Witch. Aster, the boy witch, and Ariel, his new friend (who’s a bit undisciplined in her abilities), are attempting to catch up on their magic training. The family is preparing for the Festival, a gathering of all the extended relatives that also features a magical competition to crown the Midwinter Witch. Aster wants to compete, for the first time, but there […]

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Ants Don’t Wear Pants!

Kevin McCloskey has a mini empire of educational comics about everyday wildlife from Toon Books called “Giggle and Learn”. They’re handsome hardcovers, aimed at grades K-1, that feature humor and gross facts. The newest, Ants Don’t Wear Pants!, joins the following: We Dig Worms! The Real Poop on Pigeons! Something’s Fishy Snails Are Just My Speed! Like the other books, this installment provides some basic facts: key bits of ant anatomy, the ant life cycle, how they communicate, some different […]

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A Brief Complete History of Minx, DC’s Imprint for Girls

Minx was DC’s imprint aimed at teen girls, first announced in 2006. It ran for two years before being shuttered in fall 2008 due to distribution struggles (not reaching the bookstores they aimed for) and potentially, lack of interest. I thought I’d sum up its history and releases, now that it would have been old enough to have read itself. DC was somewhat late to the party, since Scholastic had already launched Graphix and there were tons of girls reading […]

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Unicorn Bowling

Unicorn Bowling is the ninth in the Phoebe and Her Unicorn series. (I’m behind; there have been two more books out since this one: The Unicorn Whisperer and Camping with Unicorns.) Most collect the comic strips; a couple are original, longer stories, but this isn’t one of them. That means this book is 170 or so pages of everyday witticisms, with a continuing theme following through at most four or five strips. It’s welcome light entertainment, particularly given how fresh […]

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DC Super Hero Girls: Search for Atlantis

DC Super Hero Girls: Search for Atlantis is the last of the graphic novel line by the original pair of creators, writer Shea Fontana and artist Yancey Labat. It’s also the first tie-in release, as the first few pages, introducing Mera to the school for superhero students, reference the animated movie DC Super Hero Girls: Legends of Atlantis. (In short, Mera was a bad guy, manipulated by her sister Siren so she can obtain the magical Book of Legends.) In […]

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Baking With Kafka

Tom Gauld’s second book of collected cartoons, after You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, is Baking With Kafka. As with the previous volume, these comics are funny, all the more so for tackling literary and cultural topics. There are plenty of daily life strips out there, where the humor comes from a shared recognition of everyday behavior, but sometimes they feel a little easy. Gauld’s work aims in a different direction. I love it in part because it entertains […]

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The World’s Strongest

The World’s Strongest debuts on Wednesday as one of Action Lab’s “digital-first” (which may or may not mean it ever comes to print) titles. It’s $3 for 24 pages, which makes it a short read, but it touches on some insightful points. It also widens the superhero genre from its traditional focus, both in its black female hero and in the concerns it addresses. It’s written by Juan Ponce with art by Matthew Gallman, colors by Jon Yuen, and the […]

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Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Lucy Knisley with a baby carriage. Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos captures the graphic memoirist’s experiences with pregnancy and childbirth — which went about as not smoothly as you could fear, since she almost died during the process. From reading her previous autobiographical graphic novels, I knew she’d dreamed about having children for a long time. As she says in her illustrated introduction, the book covers two years of “what […]

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