Another selection from the library book sale, I initially picked this one up because it was in really good condition. A hardcover graphic novel that was initially published in 2012, this copy is pristine. I don’t know why it didn’t circulate enough to get weeded out of the collection, but perhaps the black and white illustrations were not enough to catch the eye of children browsing. It seems that either bright colors or manga style art move the best, and this has neither of those. This was hand-drawn on board with a crowquill pen, so there were no shortcuts taken here! The amount of time it had to have taken to draw all of these panels is mind-boggling.
Two children, Leah and her little brother Alan, wake up in an enchanted forest. They are understandably confused, and start the journey home. They get directions from a talking stone frog, who tells them that the path home lies behind it, and to stay on the path. At first, it seems like a normal path through the woods, talking stone frogs notwithstanding. But Alan sees a building in the distance, and his stomach decides that they should investigate. Leah is hesitant, but allows the detour. Leah is obviously older and used to looking after her brother, but she is still a child in many ways. An older and wiser girl would not allow any straying from the path, but Leah is still young enough to be curious and to let her curiosity lead her.
As soon as they reach the house, things start getting weird. It feels almost like Wonderland, only on more drugs. And like Wonderland, this world is dangerous and nothing is quite what it seems. Here, bees can steal your words, but if you can grab them, you can eat your words again. You may think that lions are dangerous, but they’re the friendliest (and best dressed) beings you’ll meet. While the lions are very fancy, fish dressed in suits commute on the train. But once on the street, things become more dangerous. The children have been having a lovely adventure so far, but then it starts to turn into a bad trip, if you know what I mean. Not to worry, they do eventually make it back home! And we find out what may have started all of this.
The intricate artwork is impressive. The simplicity of the siblings is offset by the detailed background. The relationship between the siblings is charming and relatable. Fans of Alice in Wonderland would probably enjoy this as well!
This fulfills the CBR11 Bingo square of “Travel”