Teenager Marjorie Glatt is running her family's laundromat after a tragic accident took her mother's life. Her dad glides through life from his room to the table for food, then back to his room again. Marjorie is basically in charge with keeping the business afloat and making sure her brother does everything he's supposed to do. Marjorie dodges bullies at school and unruly customers at home, all while trying her best to fend of Mr. Saubertuck, who wants the laundromat so he can finally open his luxurious spa and yoga studio. Then there's Wendell, a ghost in the Land of Ghosts who is dissatisfied with going to his group therapy sessions. He sneaks his way back to the land of the living and finds himself in a ghosts' playground - a laundromat. His midnight playtime unknowingly is making Marjorie's life more difficult. The two come together to hopefully solve both their problems.
The level of responsibility on Marjorie's young shoulders is something probably a lot of our students can relate to. Marjorie is not necessarily dealing with her grief or depression through this story, but it is a constant when she is in the panel. Wendell is an adventurous young soul taken too early and trying to make the best of it in his new form. It's an opposites-attract storyline steeped in mortality while trying to play at lightheartedness. It does, however, have a happy ending, so not everything is down-and-out depressing.
Thummler's illustrations make use of mostly a cool color palette with lots of purples and pinks. The Land of Ghosts is almost entirely purples, while the Land of the Living will have some soft greens and yellows mixed in. Marjorie's blonde hair is especially eye-catching amid the pastels. What is particularly notably about Thummler's skill set is her illustration of environments. Buildings are incredibly detailed with individual tiled roofs. Alleyways look like a sunset-draped photograph with an Instagram filter. Her individual characters are not as detailed, but this is very stylized.
This title is now owned by Oni Press, but it was originally published under Lion Forge's Cub House, an imprint for titles aimed at children ages 8 and under. While children that young may understand the basic storyline of laundromat-worker-meets-ghost, the depth of Marjorie's grief is going to be completely missed. This might be better suited upper elementary or older audiences, especially ones who are looking for something that connects with their own personal struggles of grief or belonging.
Sara's Rating: 7/10
Suitability Level: Grades 5-8
Publisher: Oni Press
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
ISBN: 9781941302675 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 7/10, Suitability: Elementary School. Suitability: Middle School, Graphic Fiction, Grief, School Life, Family, Oni Press
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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