October 15, 2016 Booklist 37 www.booklistonline.com
school readers who enjoy mysteries mixed with
dark fantasy. —Kat Kan
Wonder Woman: The True Amazon.
By Jill Thompson. Illus. by the
Oct. 2016. 128p. DC Comics, $22.99 (9781401249014).
741.5. Gr. 9–12.
With Wonder Woman bringing her bulletproof bracelets to the silver screen in summer
2017, DC is offering a bounty of material
featuring the character, who
turns a vigorous 75 this year.
Thompson’s effort, however,
will stand unique in this
pantheon, for she spins a story both lyrical and thrilling
and weaves it together with
passionate, characterful illustrations. Always honoring
the humanity within her fantasies, Thompson
renders Wonder Woman’s body in realistic
though athletically impressive proportions
and grants her an exquisitely expressive face,
exalting the heat and depth of her feelings.
Remolding the Amazon’s origin as fairy tale,
Thompson draws from Greek myth to create a
recognizable aesthetic and culture and imbue
the allegory with grandeur and ferocity. Princess Diana is born from her mother’s longing
and the sympathetic tears of the Olympian
gods. As she grows, so do her incomparable
skills, her unrivaled courage, and her overbearing arrogance until, in the midst of the great
Amazonian contest of skill and strength, she
impetuously unleashes horrific calamity. Providing Diana with this poignant motivation
for her superheroic deeds affords her complexity and accessibility heretofore mainly absent.
Wonder Woman’s story has always had epic
scope, but Thompson manages to transform
the tale, as she did Spider-Man’s, from simple
heroism into heroic tragedy. —Jesse Karp
Claws and Effect.
By Chris Kientz and Steve Hockensmith.
Illus. by Lee Nielsen.
Oct. 2016. 64p. Smithsonian, paper, $10.95
(9781588345677). 741.5. Gr. 4–7.
Middle-school classmates Dominique, Eric,
Josephine, and Ajay return home from their
first Smithsonian time-travel adventure to find
dinosaurs all over their neighborhoods. When
they return to the Smithsonian, the Museum
of Natural History is now the Museum of Ex-
tinction. They go back in time to the 1876
Philadelphia Exhibition, where they discover
the dastardly Barris brothers have brought live
dinosaur eggs from the past. The friends enlist
the help of William Foulke, a young Nellie Bly,
and Alexander Graham Bell to stop the Barris’
plot. This volume provides another rollicking
adventure with colorful art, a diverse cast, and
fun details, such as the introduction of root
beer, in 1876. The book includes more infor-
mation about Foulke and his dinosaur at the
Philadelphia Exhibition, but readers will likely
want to learn more about Nellie Bly, since the
kids hint at her future as a journalist. Hope-
fully, readers will see that history is so much
more than a bunch of facts and figures as they
learn about dinosaurs and fossil hunting in
nineteenth-century America. —Kat Kan
The Great Antonio.
By Elise Gravel. Illus. by the author. Tr.
by Richard Kutner.
Oct. 2016. 64p. TOON, $12.95 (9781943145089). 741.5.
If Hagrid ever walked the muggle world,
it probably would have been as Antonio
Barichievich, a real-life gentle giant and strongman. Gravel’s playful biography reads like a
tall tale, as Antonio often gave varying answers
about his childhood, and his astounding feats
of strength sound superhuman. By 20, he
weighed as much as a horse (queue the affronted horse standing on a bathroom scale), he
could eat 25 chickens at one go, and his shirts
could double as parachutes. Not impressed?
How about the paneled spread showing him
wrestling a bear and another page showing him
trotting with a 443-ton train in tow, setting a
world record? Intermixed with these astonishing facts are Gravel’s silly suggestions about
Antonio’s childhood and source of strength
(aliens!), though this muddles the nonfiction
waters a bit. Her digital illustrations make use
of a retro palette, artistic font choices (great for
emergent readers), and a generous helping of
fun. Kids will be taken by this larger-than-life
figure, who is still beloved in Montreal, the city
the Great Antonio called home. —Julia Smith
Hilda and the Stone Forest.
By Luke Pearson. Illus. by the
2016. 64p. Flying Eye, $19.95 (9781909263741). 741.5.
Hilda’s been on four adventures, and by now,
she’s a bit of an old pro—she spends her after-
noons wandering around Trolberg, inevitably
runs into some magical
creature who needs her help
or invites her on an irresist-
ible adventure, and comes
home in time for dinner
(OK, maybe a little late for
dinner) and bedtime, and
in the morning, she does it
all again. Her mother, how-
ever, is getting fed up with Hilda blowing her
off—a spectacular spread of close-set, rapid-
fire panels shows dozens of adventures intercut
with flashes of her mother growing increasingly
angry. When her mother tries to stop her from
slipping through a portal, they accidentally
end up in the stone forest inside a mountain,
where they’re pursued by angry trolls. Her
mom’s getting a firsthand glimpse of Hilda’s se-
cret life, but with an adult around, it’s hard to
ignore how dangerous and scary this particu-
lar adventure is. Pearson has perfected Hilda’s
Scandinavian-style fantasy world, and his art-
work is as captivating as ever, but the change
in focus from Hilda’s derring-do to the realistic
consequences of her escapades keeps it from
being just another series installment. Hilda is
widely acclaimed for a reason, and Pearson isn’t
resting on his laurels. —Sarah Hunter
Into the Outlands.
By Robert Christie. Illus. by Deborah
Oct. 2016. 128p. First Second, $16.99 (9781626722330).
741.5. Gr. 3–6.
Confident but incompetent Captain Quen-terindy Quirk leads an expedition to the
unexplored Outlands of Crutonia on board
the HMS Gwaniimander, but the first beings
they encounter—savage four-eyed giants—
immediately destroy the ship and eat most of
the crew. Quirk and the rest of the survivors
must depend on the help of grumpy one-eyed
Hukka, a sorceress whose secrets may destroy
them. Meanwhile, cartographer Nersel Buku-bay meets the incessantly cheerful Yoons, who
befriend him and the rest of the crew. Many
of the characters bear a strong resemblance
to Jim Henson’s Muppets and Fraggle Rock
characters, but their cheerful, cartoonish appearance belies the serious perils they face.
Christie and Lang manage to strike a good
balance between drama and comic relief, and
the colorful art features detailed landscapes.
Each character, from Quirk to kitchen assistant Smok to the numerous Sxervian Frog
Brigade troops and the Yoons, is readily
identifiable, but for extra help, the book includes an illustrated character guide. Perfect
for middle-grade comics fans who adore Jeff
Smith’s Bone (2004). —Kat Kan
Little Tails in the Jungle.
By Frédéric Brrémaud. Illus. by Federico
Bertolucci. Tr. by Mike Kennedy.
Oct. 2016. 32p. Magnetic, $14.99 (9781942367260).
741.5. Gr. 2–4.
In this delightful graphic novel for little
ones, translated from the original French,
Chipper, a puppy, and Squizzo, a squirrel,
take off on their cardboard airplane to visit
jungles in South America, Africa, and Asia.
Chipper and Squizzo’s bits are presented in
limited color and detail in cute cartoon panels, which float on top of lush, vibrant, and
realistic full-color illustrations of the jungles
and their inhabitants. Chipper and Squizzo
react to the painterly jungle scenes, and
their running commentary genially introduces some animal facts. Readers will learn
about tarantulas, sloths, toucans, piranhas,
elephants, panthers, howler monkeys, anteaters, and many more jungle creatures. After the
adventure is over, there’s a three-page recap
with more information about jungle animals,
focusing especially on the endangered tiger
and what even young kids can do to help.
This informative volume’s inviting format is
especially well-suited to young readers. Hand
to kids who like Jon Chad’s Leo Geo series,
or for those not quite old enough for Jim Ot-taviani and Maris Wicks’ Primates (2013).