Marshmallow & Jordan

Alina Chau. First Second, $22.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-30061-4
Transportive watercolor panels, middle school sports drama, and a touch of legend combine in Chau’s fantastical narrative, following a wheelchair-using paraplegic athlete in Indonesia. Basketball team captain Jordan Winarta—named after Michael Jordan—loves coaching and practicing with her teammates, ever since an undisclosed accident two years ago has left her unable to play in official matches. Early in fall term at Kahawaii Multicultural School, Jordan hears crying on the playground, discovering an injured white baby elephant. Dubbed Marshmallow, the uncanny blue-eyed pachyderm becomes Jordan’s sidekick and team mascot. After Marshmallow digs Jordan a swimming pool, Jordan joins the water polo team on her basketball coach’s recommendation, though she struggles to sustain old friendships and impress newfound cynics (“Does she know this is a leg sport?” one asks) as she develops her skills. Predictably, Jordan excels; in a less foreseeable twist, Marshmallow’s identity reveals a link to water and solutions to drought in the Lesser Sunda agricultural region. Indonesian terms and customs abound amid the cast of varying cultures, religions, and skin tones, and a tropical palette balances energetic action sequences and quiet wordless imagery in this feel-good graphic novel with sequel potential. Back matter features an author’s note, visual development paintings, a glossary, and Indonesian food recommendations and facts. Ages 8–12. Agent: Marietta B. Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/23/2021
Release date: 10/26/2021
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-1-250-30060-7
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