cover image Chef Yasmina and the Potato Panic

Chef Yasmina and the Potato Panic

Wauter Mannaert, trans. from the French by Montana Kane. First Second, $22.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-250-62205-1

Eleven-year-old chef Yasmina, a lanky child with thick squiggles of black hair and light skin, believes food is, first and foremost, about love, which puts her immediately at odds with shady businessman and potato farmer Tom de Perre. Purchasing and razing the two local community gardens Yasmina frequents for fresh vegetables, de Perre evicts elderly pesticide user Cyril and younger guerrilla gardener Marco to grow genetically modified flavored potatoes. Yasmina, who cooks plant-based lunches and dinners daily for her working father after her mother’s passing, is rightfully indignant, but when the townsfolk—including her father—start acting strange, she must investigate with Cyril, Marco, and a mysterious neighbor to save them. Belgian creator Mannaert’s story remains tender throughout. His dynamic style, with thin linework accompanied by vibrant greens and lush salmon pinks, eschews traditional paneling in favor of floating, borderless glimpses into Yasmina’s world. Though a lack of initial conflict may make it difficult to dive in, Yasmina’s passionate advocacy for eating with care (“I should start a petition to have math class replaced by a cooking class”) sustains a wholesome humor throughout. Back matter includes notes on Mannaert’s inspiration and process. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. [em](Jan.) [/em]