Amelia Erroway: Castaway Commander

Betsy Peterschmidt. Graphix, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-338-18612-3
Adapted from the author-illustrator’s webcomic, Peterschmidt’s debut graphic novel is charismatic and visually arresting, following blonde, light-skinned Amelia Erroway, 12, who, chafing at the limits imposed by her strict father, somewhat accidentally steals his state-of-the-art airship. Caught in a powerful storm, Amelia crashes deep in an unknown part of the vast Juniper rainforest, far from home. Taken in by brown-skinned twin brothers Rastor and Fynley Huxley and their mother Lyla, the only nearby human rainforest residents, Amelia enlists their aid in an ambitious plan to repair the damaged airship and return triumphantly home. Bande dessinée–inflected characters emote dramatically atop gorgeous watercolors that bleed across panels and pages in a vibrant, chaotic sprawl. From a lush, claustrophobic jungle to glimpses of a fanciful cityscape, the vivid physical setting is fully inhabited by a distinctly drawn cast of characters and creatures. The sentient draco-avian Ayvens are particularly fantastic, as are meticulously designed flying machines, based on real engineering principles and presented in interspersed schematic diagrams. Featuring spotlight-stealing worldbuilding, the story, like the art, is loose and occasionally messy; still, it’s filled with the characters’ contagious delight for science, flight, and adventure. Back matter includes an author’s note. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 07/21/2021
Release date: 05/04/2021
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-338-18614-7
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