cover image The Dog Knight (The Dog Knight #1)

The Dog Knight (The Dog Knight #1)

Jeremy Whitley, illus. by Bre Indigo. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $22.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-250-75671-8; $14.99 paper ISBN 978-1-250-75672-5

Middle schooler Frankie has just come out as nonbinary in this good-humored fantastical graphic novel by Whitley (the School for Extraterrestrial Girls series) and Indigo (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy), the first in a series. Though they lose friendships and experience bullying following their coming-out, Frankie perseveres, unwilling to allow these challenges to overwhelm them. While fleeing from a bully, Frankie stumbles and is knocked unconscious. They eventually wake in the Omniversal Doghouse, a magical universe headed by the Pawtheon, a collection of the wisest dogs in the universe, who inform Frankie that they’ve been chosen to become the Dog Knight, the protector of humankind and animals. Guided by loyal pup Platinum, Frankie embarks on a series of trials designed to test their loyalty, kindness, honesty, justice, stubbornness, and... sense of smell. Platinum’s immediate trust of Frankie helps to ground the tween whenever they feel as if they don’t fit in their skin or their community. Indigo utilizes varied paneling to great effect, imbuing the illustrations with fluid movement and a spry energy that skillfully complements Whitley’s wry dialogue. Frankie cues as biracial (Black and white). Ages 9–12. (May)