36 Booklist October 15, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
stay put. Gauld, who draws a weekly strip for
Britain’s Guardian, uses a boldly minimalist
style—the characters are just one stage beyond stick figures—that’s augmented by deftly
placed crosshatching and the use of a single
cobalt tone as the only color, making the landscape truly a blue moon. A drolly melancholic
tale that’s more an exploration of inner than of
outer space. —Gordon Flagg
Tetris: The Games People Play.
By Box Brown. Illus. by the author.
Oct. 2016. 256p. First Second, paper, $19.99
When Russian software designer Alexy Pa-
jitnov created a nifty electronic puzzle called
Tetris, it was mostly as an experiment in the
psychology of human gaming habits. But it
didn’t take long to realize he had created some-
thing that resonated with almost every person
who played it. What happened next could
almost be considered another element of gam-
ing. Which of the big companies would win
the rights to sell it worldwide? The race to bring
Tetris to arcade and home markets around the
globe found Nintendo, Sega, and Atari in a
high-stakes battle filled with cultural and lan-
guage barriers, major miscommunication,
and at least a few high-risk gambles. Simply
illustrated in a sequential panel format, the
charming black-and-white drawings convey
high-concept ideas in a clever, succinct man-
ner. While the lengthy business negotiations
can be difficult to follow, the broader discus-
sion surrounding the intersection of art, games,
and competition is fascinating. Engaging and
informative, this offers a unique perspective on
the role gaming has played throughout history.
The Heartless Troll.
By Øyvind Torseter. Illus. by the author.
Tr. by Kari Dickson.
2016. 120p. Enchanted Lion, $19.95 (9781592701933).
741.5. Gr. 4–7.
This Norwegian import artfully reimagines a classic folktale of monsters, valor, and
a clever young prince. The youngest of seven
brothers, Prince Fred is left behind after his
brothers and their wives are captured by a troll
and turned to stone. With nothing but a small
pack and an opinionated horse, Fred journeys
to the troll’s lair, where he meets a beautiful
princess who helps Fred track down the troll’s
heart, which Fred must destroy to free his
brothers. Though the story isn’t groundbreaking, Torseter’s lively, atmospheric artwork is a
stunner. Moomin-like Fred traipses through
a landscape of jumbled stacks of forest and
rubble, and the troll’s lair itself is composed of
gravity-defying rooms cobbled together from
lumber and bones. In sharp contrast to the
cartoonish quality of most of the pages, the
troll is frightfully detailed, rendered in fine
lines and smudged shadows, and his dialogue
appears in an oversize, angrily scribbled font.
With anachronistic details and gaze-worthy
illustrations, this expressionistic graphic novel
is perfect for readers who like their folktales
on the offbeat side. —Sarah Hunter
The Iron Hand.
By Scott Chantler. Illus. by the
Oct. 2016. 126p. Kids Can, $17.95 (9781771380522);
paper, $8.95 (9781771380539). 741.5. Gr. 4–6.
Chantler’s seven-part fantasy epic began
as a fast-paced, high-spirited adventure of
three thieves caught up in a royal conspiracy.
Slowly, though, larger pieces
started to fall into place, and
lively characters developed
formidable emotional heft.
By book four, The King’s
Dragon (2014), the series had
taken on unexpected weight
and urgency. The final book
of the Three Thieves brings
it all to an exceptionally satisfying conclusion,
with Dessa, her royal lineage now revealed, returning to North Huntington, having forged a
partnership with its oldest enemy, and seeking
to rescue her brother and recover the throne.
Chantler continues to tap the emotional
vein that has been the saga’s quiet, invaluable
strength, maturing Dessa into someone who
can embrace her old opponents and her past
mistakes. Familial revelations and confronta-
tions resonate back through the entire series
and exemplify the characters’ internal jour-
neys as much as tie up the plot, affording this
conclusion a rich sense of closure. As always,
Chantler’s art balances the emotional turmoil
with scrappy, freewheeling excitement, as in a
humorous two-page sword-training session, an
ingenious castle infiltration, and a final two-
page spread that will fire up the wonder and
delight of every young reader lucky enough to
encounter this grand series. —Jesse Karp
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”: A
By Miles Hyman. Illus. by the author.
Oct. 2016. 160p. Hill & Wang, $30 (9780809066490);
paper, $16 (9780809066506). 741.5. Gr. 9–12.
Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” gets graphic treatment by the author’s
grandson in this adaptation of her most well-known work. Using an effective combination
of striking visual images and pithy snippets
of dialogue, the story, about an annual ritual
of sacrifice in a small town and the dangers of
blindly following tradition, is distilled to its
brutal core. The story is well served by the bold
illustrations—intensely saturated color work
seems at first incongruous with iconic images
that hearken back to the mid-twentieth century, but it lends intensity to the panels. Hyman
has a keen eye for composition and creates
strong visual interest with unusual angles, using a variety of panel sizes and perspectives to
pull the reader in as the scenes unfold from
different viewpoints. Lonesome street scenes
and empty fields only heighten the sense of
isolation and unease delivered by the text, and
deliberate visual pacing during a pivotal scene
focuses all the reader’s attention on the drama
swiftly unfolding. One of the strongest graphic
adaptations of a classic work to come along in
some time. —Summer Hayes
By Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple. Illus.
by Orion Zangara.
Oct. 2016. 80p. Lerner/Graphic Universe, paper, $8.99
(9781512411553); lib. ed., $29.32 (9781467741965).
741.5. Gr. 8–11.
In the 1930s, young teen Craig McGowan
can’t find work in Edinburgh, so he climbs to a
church rooftop to jump off. It’s then that a gargoyle, Silex, convinces the boy to work for him
instead, to act as his eyes and ears in investigating a disturbing crime wave—the city’s plagued
with a series of mysterious murders, with
knives left plunged into the victims, whose
throats were cut. Silex suspects a supernatural
motive, and Craig and Father Harris, the priest
of Silex’s church, soon find themselves in danger as the killer stalks more potential victims.
Zangara’s black-and-white art with sometimes
scratchy lines provides a gloomy atmosphere in
keeping with the somber story, while his architectural details evoke a strong sense of place.
Silex’s use of children harkens back to Sherlock
Holmes and his Baker Street Irregulars, street
kids who gather intelligence for the detective.
Yolen and Stemple use enough Scottish vernacular that readers will need to pay attention
while reading. Give this to middle- and high- www.nobrow.net