cover image My Aunt Is a Monster

My Aunt Is a Monster

Reimena Yee. Random House Graphic, $20.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-9848-9418-2

After losing her parents and home to a fire, book-loving Safia Haziz is taken in by distant aunt Walteranne Hakim Whimsy, a great adventurer turned idiosyncratic recluse. Safia, who is blind, can’t see that her aunt doesn’t appear human; instead, Aunt Whimsy is a monster with blue fur, three yellow eyes, ram-like horns, and taloned feet, cursed to this form following an adventuring incident. When news that Aunt Whimsy’s disappeared rival has suddenly resurfaced, Safia, ecstatic for the chance to travel the world, persuades Aunt Whimsy to come out of retirement. The two embark on a globe-spanning journey through zealously developed locales—including a forest-swallowed ancient city and an astoundingly large cruise ship—and meet unconventional explorers, such as gardening ghosts and pale, blond aspiring journalist Hebe. Vivid, flat-colored art by Yee (Séance Tea Party) bustles with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it details and visual jokes, and the electric combination of layered paneling and sprawling spreads beg to be pored over. Brown-skinned Safia is an irresistible lead, and her innate sense of wonder and longing for adventure, even as she grieves the loss of her previous life, is heartwarming to the very last page. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jen Linnan, Linnan Literary Management. (Sept.)