cover image The Baker and the Bard

The Baker and the Bard

Fern Haught. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $25.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-250-82850-7

Juniper and her nonbinary best friend Hadley are chasing their dreams in the quiet town of Larkspur; Juniper is an aspiring baker apprenticing at a local pâtissier where Hadley, a bard, enchants patrons with their flute. When the bakery receives an unusually large order with a life-changing price tag, the duo set off on their first-ever journey beyond Larkspur and into neighboring towns seeking the rare ingredient needed to complete the order. What starts off as a simple grocery run turns into a high-stakes adventure when they find a nearby town besieged by mysterious, crop-ravaging monsters—and gentle fey caterpillars desperate for a meal following an expanding city’s new farm fields’ encroachment upon their natural habitat. Haught’s debut graphic novel is an empathetic tale of friendship, trust, and learning to balance expansion with preserving and living alongside nature. Soft, loosely lined illustrations and muted tones add warmth and gentility to this quintessential, cozy queer fantasy tale that will appeal to fans of The Tea Dragon Society and The Sprite and the Gardener. Characters are portrayed as having fanciful skin tones and animalian features. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)