Neverlanders by tom taylor
Illustrated by Jon Sommariva
While panhandling in the subway one day, Luz is bumped onto the train tracks and saved in part by her friend Bee, but mostly a stranger named Paco. Paco turns out to be an orphan just like Bee and Luz, so Bee invites him back to their hideout: a trailer in a junkyard. There, he meets Felix, Gracie, and Justin. Paco asks them all if they wish for a better life, and when they say yes, he and a fairy whisk them away to Neverland! Paco has brought them into the middle of a war between the Neverlanders and the pirates from Otherland who want to harvest the magic from the island.
I really appreciate that this isn’t a retelling of the original, but rather a full reimagining and more of a sequel than trying to take place during the iconic story. Taylor takes his own liberties but still captures the whimsy of the original tale. Tink is constantly cussing (all censored), which is reminiscent of her original role in the book, but she's also a high-spirited fighter with a tiny, sharp sword. Taylor also provides an explanation for Neverland's magic and the reason children don't age on the island. The original tale focuses more on whimsy and make-believe, so it doesn't have many explanations. Some authors try to explain too much, which only serves to complicate the story. Taylor doesn't make this mistake, and rather adds a few more elements of magic that don't have explanations, and the story doesn't suffer for it.
Sommariva's illustrations are beautifully colored and so full of detail. Everything is bright, and Neverland is an alluring, lush place. Otherland is disgusting and illustrated with lots of brown tones to accentuate how dirty and grimy it is.
There is some violence on the page and Tink's censored cussing, so this would probably be best for middle grade readers and up.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Publication Date: August 30th, 2022
ISBN: 9780593351758 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Graphic Fiction, Fantasy, Magic, Action Adventure, Adaptations, Penguin
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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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