One Trick Pony

Nathan Hale. Amulet, $14.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-4197-2128-1
Earth has been conquered; families traveling in caravans preserve civilization’s digital archives while avoiding bioparasites called pipers that slurp up robots and other metals. Strata, Auger, and Inby, three young nomads, stumble on a cache of robots; the best prize is Kleidi, a working robotic horse. The robots call forth a lethal swarm of pipers, but Strata won’t abandon Kleidi. Auger and Inby make it home with the help of Pick, a self-possessed girl from outside the caravan, and Strata and Kleidi take on the pipers, then confront their pompous overlords. Hale (the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series) pours imaginative detail and intensity into the ruins of the destroyed world, the icky details of the pipers, and his human characters. He draws in grayscale with yellow highlights, giving all things robotic and metallic a particular glow. The dialogue is distinctive, too: “You eat pigs, do you not?” one of Earth’s overlords asks Strata. “Have you taken the time to converse with a pig—a small pig—as we are conversing with you now?” Hale gives his post-apocalyptic scenario special sauce, and readers will hope for more. Ages 8–12. Agency: Shannon Associates. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/13/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
Paperback - 144 pages - 978-1-4197-2944-7
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