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If You Build It…

Stuart Ng Books always have a fascinating booth at any number of fannish conventions. At WonderCon, they introduced us to Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest, an illustrated book for children that came out in 2018 from writer Steve Richardson and illustrator Chris Dunn. “Can a lone girl rabbit with all the odds stacked against her actually surprise boastful Jimmy Squirrel to win the big tree house construction contest? It is the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, Jimmy Squirrel, whose dad owns the biggest construction company in the city, agrees to a tree house contest. To everyone”s surprise, Paisley Rabbit, who has never touched a hammer or a nail and has no one to help her, is a long shot to win. But the imaginative and determined Paisley, demonstrates her resourcefulness and strategic planning abilities that eventually amazes her friends and silences the smug Jimmy Squirrel.” The book is available now in hardcover. Check out the preview pictures — the artwork is gorgeous. Interesting note: Chris Dunn also illustrated an edition of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. We’ll have to look it up.

image c. 2024 Impossible Dreams

Shape-SHIFT!

More we discovered at WonderCon: Author Lauren Jankowski and her Shapeshifter Chronicles series of urban dark fantasy books. Here’s the description of Sere From The Green, the first book in the series: “There is a race that lives among humans, unbeknownst to them, called shape shifters, those that can shift from human to animal at will. Many protect the innocent on Earth and act as the eyes and ears of the guardians, divine beings similar to gods in ancient myths. Isis is a woman who lives a normal life until the day she photographs a murder scene for her job. When the body disappears from her photographs, Isis is determined to solve the mystery. Her investigation uncovers answers about her own past and sets her on a journey that will change her life forever.” Visit the series web site to find out more.

image c. 2024 Crimson Fox Publishing

Two for Survival

Fresh back from WonderCon in Anaheim, and there was so much interesting stuff to see there! Like… Chuck Grieb is an art instructor at Azusa Pacific University, but he worked for years in animation production as well. Now he’s expanded his resume to include “author” with his illustrated fantasy novel The Goblin Twins — the first book in his Garden Clan series. It features more than 100 black & white and full-color illustrations. “Running for their lives from an evil shaman, The Goblin Twins Bela and Vuto flee to the far side of the enchanted Thicket. But the shaman has not given up, and the Goblin Twins’ escape to the Faerie Garden Clans sparks a confrontation which could lead to a Goblin-Faerie war.” Check out the official web site to find out more, including the author’s other projects.

image c. 2024 C and W Creative, Inc.

The Trickster Without Scruples

Sometimes, the publisher explains things perfectly well for us. Like this: “In this atmospheric tribute to the medieval folklore tradition of trickster tales starring Reynard the fox, beloved children’s cartoonist Ben Hatke turns his pen to a very special project for adult readers. Inspired by the 12th century tales of the indomitable trickster fox Reynard, this offbeat tribute to the archetypal rogue has a satisfyingly old-fashioned feeling to it. Although this Reynard adventure is entirely the creation of modern fairytale master Ben Hatke (Mighty Jack), it fits seamlessly into the body of Reynard tales still beloved in Europe to this day. Featuring evocative, charming black-and-white illustrations and a swiftly moving narrative, Reynard’s Tale follows our hero through a series of encounters with other classic figures from this body of folklore to piece together a headlong journey through a perilous landscape filled with murderers, kings, ex-lovers, mermaids, and even Death herself.” So there you have it. And it’s available now.

image c. 2024 First Second

I Want A Monster To Be My Playmate

Something delightful from Clarion Books: The Pebble and Wren graphic novel. “A little girl and her live-in monster learn about what makes them different — and what unites them. This graphic novel is a silly, sweet, and sometimes gross tribute to friendship, and to the wacky world we live in. Based on his webcomic of the same name, Pebble and Wren by Chris Hallbeck follows human girl Wren and her live-in monster, Pebble, as she teaches them all about how the human world works — from why the moon changes shape to why we don’t eat candy wrappers — while trying to unlock special abilities without which Pebble will have to return to the monster forest.” Find out what happens next.

image c. 2024 Clarion Books

New Adventures in Redwall

Thanks to Animation Magazine we learned about some new games coming to Steam, based on Brian Jacques’ world-famous Redawall series of anthropomorphic fantasy books. “The Scout Anthology, available now for PC, PS5 and X|S on Steam, is a narrative puzzle-driven action-adventure in three acts following young mouse recruits in Mossflower on a mission to save their home from pirates. For the cute and cozy casual gaming crowd, Feasts & Friends (for the PC, coming soon) savors the peaceful town of Lilygrove as players forage for ingredients, craft recipes, and meet charming characters.” Both of them were created by Forthright Entertainment and Soma Games.

image c. 2024 Forthright Entertainment

Not-Planet of the Apes

Here’s a science fiction limited-series comic that came to us from CEX last year: Josif 1957. “You know about Laika, the Cosmonaut dog sent into orbit on Sputnik 2. But no one knows about Josif, the first gorilla in space! Born on Josif Stalin’s birthday and subjected to terrible genetic experiments, Josif soon grew far too powerful. The leadership of the Soviet Union did all they could to stop him. But not everything went as planned!” It’s written by Davide Barzi, and illustrated by a talented young Italian artist, Fabiano Ambu.

image c. 2024 CEX Publishing

Winking and Blinking

Wizkit is the name of a new graphic novel for young readers, written and illustrated by Tanya J. Scott. The publisher describes it as Hilda and the Troll meets The Okay Witch. “It’s a wild, enchanted, wonderful world out there, way beyond the fjord that a one-eyed cat named Wizkit calls home. But Wizkit wouldn’t know anything about that—as a Wizard’s apprentice, all her lessons are indoors, and she’s far too lazy to go out exploring. There’s no need to—she already knows enough spells to conjure up delicious snacks whenever she’s hungry! But when an overdue library book literally cries out to be returned, Wizkit’s Teacher decides she must be the one to take it back. Reluctantly (and rather accidentally), the journey to the Library begins. With the annoyingly optimistic Book in tow, Wizkit sets off on an adventure that is full of strange characters with even stranger problems. Wizkit will soon find out that, with a little support and a new friendship, her own magical talents can be part of the solution.” You can find out more from Simon & Schuster.

image c. 2024 Simon & Schuster

We Did It Before…

Well here’s a team we’ve heard about previously. Sean Patrick O’Reilly is head of Arcana Studios, and David Alvarez is a popular comic artist. Their new creation is called Kotto Kotorra. The description is pretty darn simple: “The book follows Kotto, an average Puerto Rican who runs an empanadilla food truck. His daily life is always an adventure, thanks to his boisterous friends.” That hardly scratches the surface of this old-school “funny animal cartoon” comic. What’s more, it’s not just a graphic novel, but a game app as well!

image c. 2024 Arcana Studios