Illustrated by Kyle Strahm
Twig is late for his very first day of his new job as a Placeling, and he just might destroy the planet because of his error! Twig is tasked with placing a jewel but nothing goes right, and the light in the jewel is gone. Now, he has to journey across the world to find the way to light it up again, and he has a very short amount of time to do it in. With his trusty friend, Splat, Twig gathers components and meets new creatures, some more helpful than others, in a journey that is part self-discovery and
Hayakawa and his pet Penguin, Pen-chan, live in a normal apartment while Hayakawa attends university classes. Pen is an amazing pet - he helps around the house, does the shopping, cooks delicious and elaborate meals, cleans the apartment and does Hayakawa's laundry, and tries to do everything he can to make Hayakawa happy. But, most days, Hayakawa doesn't notice what Pen-chan has done for him! Hayakawa's friends realize what a great penguin he has, but Pen's owner remains oblivious.
Manpachi and Momoji the Badger travel to the mountain where Manpachi was born, but Momoji also knowingly takes Manpachi away from Senzou and endangers him. When the two get to the mountain, all the creatures are sleeping and covered in snow. The two are almost immediately attacked by a dormouse in human form, who accused the two of them of disturbing the mountain’s restorative sleep. Before the dormice can fully attack Manpachi and Momoji, the goddess of the mountain reveals herself and explains why she has put everyone in a sleeping state. Manpachi give the goddess a kind of pep talk, and she has restored faith in her abilities. Later, the wolf pack investigates a murder of a cat, and suspects an illegal substance was used to cover rhe murderer’s tracks. They question Momoji and find out a stash of the substance was stolen from him when the wolves first apprehended him.
Ruka gets kicked off her handball team for the entirety of summer vacation, but she can’t stand to be at home with her mother, so she leaves her home every day in search of something to quell her spirit. On one of her unfulfilling adventures, she meets Umi, a strange boy who swims at length in the ocean and says Ruka has the same curiosity as him and his brother. Once released from the hospital, brother Sora joins the two and gets them into more trouble out on the open water with a “commandeered” boat belonging to the local aquarium. One of the workers there has been looking after Sora and umi, and tells Ruka he believes the boys were raised in the ocean by dugongs. Out in the deep water, Ruka witnesses a whale shark glowing and becoming lights that resemble stars, just like a ghost in the aquarium she saw as a young child.
Senzou the black fox was a terribly powerful bakemono - a magical beast - but he was finally brought down by the sun goddess and a legion of wolves. He was imprisoned for 300 years while the goddess siphoned his power away. Now, he’s been released, and he must serve out his penance: raise a little tanuki to be a good servant of the gods, or be constantly tormented by a magical pearl necklace that delivers pain kind of like a shock collar. In addition to raising the tanuki, whom he calls Manpachi, the pair must help 8 million gods with whatever problems they have.
Illustrated by Trish Forstner
Sophie is a nervous dog who classically can’t remember much after it happens to her. She’s introduced to a group of dogs in a new house, and they terrify her. The nicest of the bunch, Rusty, recognizes her fears and protects Sophie. He gives her a tour of the home, including the room they’re not allowed to go into. Snippets of traumatic memories start coming back to Sophie, prompting other dogs to also remember some of their pasts, with owners who were not their current master, who all happen to be female and usually alone. Through this, the dogs discover their happy home with plenty of food and treats is not a safe place to be, for animals or humans.
Machi is a 14-year-old priestess of a shrine in the mountains of Japan. This little village is special because of their relationship to these talking bears. Machi is the companion to Natsu, a talking bear, and Machi is sort of responsible with keeping the relationship between the bears and the villagers a positive one. Machi wants to go to high school in the city, but Natsu thinks she’s too naive to survive in the city, worried that she will be taken advantage of because of her simple country ways.
Illustrated by Tarako
God has a team of designers at his disposal who will make all manner of creatures based on a very limited scope - things like a mammal able to eat leaves off tall trees (which results in a giraffe), or something “adorably uncute” (which results in the koala). The designers, all sharing a name with one of the planets, each have their quirks when designing animals: Mr. Saturn’s greatest invention was the horse, something he tries to reinvent for everyone challenge to limited success; Pluto makes terrifying animals but is also very fixated on how her creations will reproduce; Neptune makes all kinds of amphibious animals; and Jupiter has become the official taste-tester, making sure delicious animals have extra protection or defense mechanisms. At the end of each chapter is a note on the main, real, animals that were designed, providing some educational content for readers.
Haru is kidnapped and taken to the headquarters of the Shishi-Gumi, a gang of Lions who must satisfy their terrible Boos with animals who only have pure white fur. Legoshi is determined to save her, especially when it becomes clear that no one else will attempt a rescue or stand up to the Shishi-Gumi (including the Mayor). Legoshi enters the black market and tries to find out more about the gang, like where their headquarters is, when Gohin, the helpful panda psychologist, steps in and decides to help Legoshi on what is essentially a suicide mission. While Haru is in the clutches of the terrible boss lion, she goes through a few scenes in her life that showcase why she is the way she is with males at school.
In the beginning, there was the World Flower, spouting planets and stars into existence like pollen. On one of these planets (Earth) is the hive in which we find ourselves. In it, Dvorah is capping the cell of young larva Nyuki, who is scared of metamorphosis and what the rest of life will mean for her. After metamorphosis, Nyuki emerges as an adult bee but is rather scared of the outside world. That is going to work out poorly because there is a new queen in the colony, which means the old queen must lead some of the colony away to a new site. Dvorah is going, and Nyuki must decide. It turns out, Nyuki loves flying, but there are many perils of the outside world, including praying mantis, spiders, and birds! As Nyuki grows up, she finds a special flower with the best nectar and helps cross-pollinate it with a flower across the field. Nyuki inspires a younger forager, Melissa, to become a great forager for the colony.
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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