cover image Escape from the Lizzarks

Escape from the Lizzarks

Doug TenNapel. Scholastic/Graphix, $19.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-545-67647-2

The peaceable life of a young “Nnewt” named Herk is shattered when a group of marauding Lizzarks invade his village in this first title in TenNapel’s fantasy saga, which began as a webcomic and which imagines an epic conflict between amphibious and reptilian creatures. Though confined to water due to his underdeveloped legs, Herk manages to escape certain death, but winds up alone in the outside world, barely able to drag himself across the ground. From here Herk’s journey to herodom begins, as he meets new friends, flees dogged enemies, and tries to find his footing (in more ways than one). While keeping the action rolling, TenNapel (Cardboard) shapes Herk’s world, an expansive and magical everglade populated by strange creatures and steeped in history and lore. His soft spot for oddballs and outcasts gives the book a warm emotional center that, along with offbeat humor and some slapstick moments, balances the story’s not-infrequent violence (Herk’s mother puts up a good fight, stabbing one Lizzark in the chest before being brutally cut down with a sword). A visually rich and abundantly imaginative adventure that lands some serious emotional punches. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)■