Writer: Kevin Panetta
Artist: Savanna Ganucheau
Published by: First Second (January 29, 2019)
Pages: 369 (Paperback)
“I would love to have something like that to be on a team with someone and to be better together than you could be alone.”
Bloom is a cute graphic novel about Ari who is spending the summer after high school working in his family’s bakery while dreaming of moving to the city with his band mates to pursue a career in music. However, after interviewing potential replacements, Ari meets Hector, and they strike up a friendship which forces Ari to re-evaluate how he feels about his family, his friends, and the bakery.
While I enjoyed the story and the art is gorgeous, this graphic novel was not quite what I was expecting. Ari isn’t a particularly likable character for the bulk of the story – he’s impatient, immature, and self-centered, but his arc is really lovely. And I loved the focus on the importance of family and finding your place.
Title: The Prince and the Dressmaker
Writer: Jen Wang
Artist: Jen Wang
Published by: First Second (February 13, 2019)
Pages: 277 (Paperback)
“You being here is the start of something new for me. My whole life is other people deciding what’s acceptable. When I put on a dress, I get to decide what’s silly.”
This was, simply put, delightful.
The Prince and the Dressmaker tells the story of Prince Sebastian and his dressmaker-turned-best friend Frances. Sebastian’s parents are pressuring him to get married, but he is too busy keeping his secret life hidden from everyone: sometimes Sebastian likes to wear dresses and sneak out of the palace as Lady Crystallia. After seeing Frances dressmaking skills, Sebastian hires her to design dresses for him. However, eventually Frances realizes that if she remains Sebastian’s secret dressmaker, she’ll never get to pursue dreams of her own.
Not only is this story incredibly heartwarming, Jen Wang’s art is fantastic. And the ending literally had me clutching the book to my chest and squealing. It is one of the most heartwarming things I’ve read in a long time.
You should read this.
Title: The Tea Dragon Society
Series: Tea Dragon #1
Writer: Katie O’Neill
Artist: Katie O’Neill
Published by: Oni Press (October 31, 2017)
Pages: 72 (Hardcover)
“Memories don’t just live inside you, Minette. They live in all the people and objects you share your life with.”
I’m pretty sure Katie O’Neill could illustrated a grocery list, and I would totally read it.
The Tea Dragon Society is a delightful children’s book/graphic novel which follows Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, who finds a lost tea dragon in the marketplace. After returning it to the tea shop, the owners Hesekiel and Erik offer to teach her the art of tea dragon care. Greta also becomes friends with their ward Minette who has a tea dragon of her own.
This story is so diverse and sweet and perfect for readers of all ages. It stars a full cast of characters of color, a loving and healthy queer relationship, gender non-conformity, and disability rep (one character is a wheelchair user and another suffers significant memory loss.) Ultimately, it’s a story about finding your place and your purpose. And having people in your life who love and support you unconditionally.
Also, I would really like my own tea dragon now, please and thank you.