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One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale, 128 pp, RL4

I love everything that Nathan Hale does, from his picture books to illustrating other author's graphic novels to his own spectacular series of historical graphic novels, Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales. It is so exciting to read One Trick Pony, his newest, stand alone (?) graphic novel!

In One Trick Pony, Hale creates a chilling but intriguing, post-apocalyptic world where the world has been turned to sand with the remains of civilization left in curving, symmetrical canyons that look a bit like an architectural playground. It is in these ruins that Strata, her brother Auger and their friend Inby search for any remaining technology and electrical devices to bring back to the caravan they travel in, where the adults (Digital Rescuers) are dedicated to preserving the vestiges of a once richly creative human society. When they stumble upon a huge cache of robots and accidentally wake them up, they draw the attention of the Pipers and the race begins.

The Pipers are a strange mix of frog, mosquito and flying squid with a single, huge glowing eye and the ability to enclose things in a bubble that then rises into the atmosphere. In the rubble of the robots, Strata finds a golden, robot pony buried in the sand. She convinces Auger and Inby to help her excavate it and, seeing the name engraved on it, mounts Kleidi and rides off.

The Pipers are hot on their trail, and as the trio flee, they meet up with Pick, a girl from the Salt Clans trying to poach cattle from the Ferals, a bandit clan that chooses to live without any technology whatsoever. When Strata rides off with Kleidi to distract the the Pipers, the Ferals, tempted by the promise of more cattle (and an alpaca, which makes for a nice running joke) join up with Pick, Auger and Inby to find the caravan and reunite with Strata. How Hale brings this reunion about is exciting and surprising and gives deeper meaning to the title, One Trick Pony. Hale wraps up the story marvelously, but I feel like he might also be leaving a door open for more stories from this intriguing future world . . .

Click here for my reviews of Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales

Coming November, 2017!!

Written by Shannon & Dean Hale (no relation) and illustrated by Nathan Hale, Rapunzel's Revenge & Calamity Jack

And don't miss these excellent picture book mash-ups where Ludwig Bemelman's Madeline meets Frankenstein:

Source: Review Copy


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