cover image The Moth Keeper

The Moth Keeper

K. O’Neill. Random House Graphic, $21.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-593-18226-0

O’Neill (Dewdrop) fashions a sparkling parable about coming into one’s own abilities and learning to persevere through dark times in this inviting fantasy graphic novel. Generations ago, as thanks for desert dwellers’ kindness, the Moon-Spirit gifted them the Moon-Moths, creatures who pollinate the Night-Flower tree, which grants the nocturnal villagers with blessings that allow them to thrive. Anya, a young humanoid villager with fox-like ears, has just been initiated as an apprentice Moth Keeper, tasked with tending to the Moon-Moths. Alongside her mentor Yeolen and best friend Estell, Anya tackles various challenges of being the Moth Keeper, which includes spending cold nights alone away from her loved ones. She also contends with a growing curiosity surrounding the nearby sun-dwelling village. O’Neill renders surreal landscapes using a potent palette which features the lush purples and oranges of dusk melding vividly with bright greens and yellows. Anya’s solitude as the Moth Keeper is expertly emphasized via long stretches of wordless panels, allowing readers to soak up the fantastical moonlit vista visuals. Containing a deeply contemplative aura, this worthy volume explores themes of connection, mythology, personal growth, and tradition. Ages 8–12. Agent: Linda Camacho, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Mar.)