Friday, September 28, 2018

Chasma knights by Boya Sun and Kate Reed Petty

This colorful graphic novel weaves a lot of threads about bullying, diversity, consumerism, and recycling into a fun fantasy story.

In the Chasma valley, knights of different chemical properties "catalyze" or activate toys. When the toys break, they get new ones. But Neon Knights can't do anything - or can they? Neon Knight Beryl, despite the overt bullying of the Sulfur Knights and the disdain of everyone else in the valley, is determined to be a great toy maker, not just a consumer (since she can't actually catalyze anything anyways). When Beryl meets the powerful but clumsy Coro, an Oxygen Knight, the two warily work together. But when things go wrong, will their incipient friendship - and Beryl's hard work - be destroyed?

Puffy, pastel illustrations show a delightful, cotton candy-like world. Despite the cute characters, toys, and colors though, there's a lot of prejudice and meanness in this little fantasy and it will take all the hard work and goodwill of the two characters to overcome their differences and prejudices.

Kids can read this for the cute toys, fun adventures, and making/science aspects; however, it could also spark discussions about prejudice, consumerism, and how we use resources. Readers can compare the blatant hostility of the Sulfur Knights to Coro's ignorant comments and casual prejudice towards Beryl and discuss their own privilege and experiences.

Verdict: A wide range of readers will enjoy this cute and quirky graphic novel; hand it to readers who are fans of El Deafo, 5 Worlds, and all things cute and comic-related.

ISBN: 9781626726048; Published 2018 by First Second; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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