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.
This collection brings together three Japanese folktales where there is something very tempting that must not be opened. The first tale is of a young boy who saves a turtle and is invited to come under the sea to a magical kingdom. He stays for what he feels is a short amount of time, but when he goes back to the surface, it has been 30 years, and his family is gone. The queen of the ocean gave him a box before he left, and if he opens it, he’ll be taken back to the Ocean Kingdom. In the second story, a master tells his apprentices not to open a jar that supposedly contains a deadly poison, but they suspect has something delicious that their master wants to horde for himself. In the third tale, the main character saves a crane in the forest one day, and is visited by a beautiful young maiden the next. She is caught in a snow storm and he offers her shelter, and it turns into a much longer stay and an eventual marriage. In need of money, so goes into another room to spin some cloth and begs her young husband not to open the door despite what he might hear.
Vol 1: Fear & Fire, illustrated by V. V. Glass, colored by Natalia Neserenko
Saoirse and friend challenge each other to get to the Witch Tower first on this, the most dangerous day for being outside - it's the day the Cailleach hunts children to eat. Saoirse's father catchers her and saddles her with babysitting her sick brother, Brahm. When they sneak out later and make it to the Witch Tower, she doesn't find a deserted relic at all - they finds a fearsome witch ready to make up her dinner out of Brahm. Saoirse overpowers the witch with a hidden strength and saves her brother. Her Nan later reveals that she is witch-marked, a special descendant of magical beings. Saoirse is possibly strong enough to finally take down the four handmaidens and the Cailleach and rid the world of the threat of the Fae King being released from Tir Na Nog.
Mei and her father work in the kitchen for a logging camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the late 1800s, where they expertly make delicious meals for the loggers after a long day of hard work. Mei makes wonderful pies that everyone craves, and at night, she entertains the camp's children by telling fanciful stories. One such stories is the legend of Po Pan Yin, an elderly Chinese woman logger who watches over the camp and works in the forest with her giant blue ox. The children accuse Mei of stealing the American legend of Paul Bunyan, but Mei makes Auntie Po into her own myth and a guardian spirit for the camp and herself. With the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act limiting the opportunities and safety for Chinese immigrants, Mei and her father must navigate an increasingly hostile community where violence against Chinese workers is not uncommon. On top of all of this, Mei must work out her feelings for her best friend Bee, which are becoming increasingly romantic, as well as plan for her future away from the logging camp.
Vol 1: Bright World
Amparo is a teen prankster, desperately trying to impress the super-smart Iolanthe, but succeeding in only stressing out their mother and abuela. When a talking cat comes to Amparo's bedroom, Amparo becomes convinced that the magical cat can grant them their wish: to be a better person Unfortunately, the magical cat is a better trickster than Amparo, and steals their name and identity. The former Amparo is doomed to Bright World, a vibrant, terrifying land squished in between the mortal world and what lies beyond. Fierce creatures feed on humans and use memories as currency, and it's all former-Amparo can do to survive! They become an indentured servant to cafe owner, Mimi, who dubs them "Paola," but Paola soon finds a new master - El Ciervo, a creepy "doctor" who specializes in performing medical procedures on humans. Now "Fawn," Amparo must fight their way out of Bright World and back to their life before they become a demon only worthy of Bright World.
Thirteen-year-old Tiến reads fairy tales to his mother, Helen, to help her practice her English as she works as a seamstress. Woven through the fairy tales are memories Helen has of immigrating with her husband. The fairy tales are variations on the story of Cinderella. The first is about a maiden named Alera who is promised to the Old Man in the Sea to repay her father’s debts. She demands three impossibly beautiful dresses as payment, then escapes his clutches after receiving them. She wakes up on a distant shore and finds a new family in the kitchens of a palace. The kind prince has a ball for his birthday, and Alera wears one of her beautiful dresses. Of course, she catches the eye of the prince.
In between reading stories Tiến attends school and tries to navigate his crush on one of his best friends, Julian. His other best friend, Claire, encourages Tiến to tell Julian and his family that he is gay, but Tiến can’t find the words to express it in Vietnamese in order to tell his parents. Outside pressures make Tiến feel ashamed of his feelings, so will he ever find the courage to tell his mother?
This edition collects volumes 1-2 of the original run of Mermaid Saga.
Mana is the hope of her village, which is entirely made of older ladies. One day, Yuta comes to the village and disrupts their entire way of life. Yuta is a centuries old young man who gained immortality by eating the flesh of a mermaid, and is now questing for a way to reverse his immortality. He uncovers the real reason the village is protecting Mana, and instead of letting them get away with their sinister plan, he breaks her out and steals her away from the older ladies. The rest of the volume is comprised of other adventures of Yuta and Mana as Yuta tries to find more mermaids who could potentially help him become mortal.
Illustrated by Jeff Stokely
This book is a reimagining is the story of the Pied Piper. In the village of Hameln, a young woman named Maggie lives and dreams of falling in love. She has gone deaf due to a tragedy of childhood cruelty, and she continues to live with judgment from the villagers. The village of Hameln is beset with rats, bringing fever and ruining crops and stores of food. In comes a mysterious stranger who claims he can rid the village of all the rats. He negotiates his fees, including all-expenses-paid while he stays in the village, and begins his recon. This includes getting to know the lovely Maggie, who cannot fall under his spell naturally. Nevertheless, the two begin to admire each other, but double-crossing and deep-seeded bitterness threaten everything Maggie knows about the man of her dreams.
Illustrated by Dom Reardon and Matthew Dow Smith
Rebellious Teen Nissy (nickname for Nicnevin) has her life in London uprooted by her mother after being expelled from her school for drugs. Mom takes Nissy and her younger brother to a village in the North of England to detox from fast-paced city life. The family is supposed to be cleaning up grandma's house, left derelict for many years, but Nissy and her brother have other plans, always absconding and leaving mom to do all the heavy lifting. There, Nissy meets an interesting older man investigating the mysterious past of the village, including witches and druids. Nissy reads some of the family history from her grandma’s diary, and finds out there is more to them than she first thought.
Illustrated by Jo Rioux
This haunting story, based on an old Celtic folktale, is about two sisters of a king and faerie mother. The mother passes away, and the two daughters grieve very differently. When they find their father in a questionable situation with two young ladies, their opposite reactions shape the course of their lives. Dahut, the strong-willed red-head, follows in her mother’s magical footsteps and does what she can to protect the city of Ys from the sea. Rozenn, the kind and gentle brunette, retreats to the country and tries to live among the folk. She, being the heir, does not understand her sister’s life and what the grisly price has been to keep Ys prospering. The last half of the story is full of heart-breaking moments as the two sisters make many sacrifices to keep their people safe. In the end, this story has half a happy ending, but mostly chilling and unsettling.
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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