Aster and the Accidental Magic by Thom Pico & Karensac, 224 pp, RL 3
Aster and the Accidental Magic
by Thom Pico & Karensac
Purchased from Barnes & Noble
Published by RH Graphic
Published by Dupuis, the almost 100-year-old French publisher of comics, as Aubépine (Hawthorn), the first in this quartet of graphic novels by Thom Pico and Karensac debuted in 2018. Happily, the determined, opinionated, adventurer has made her way to America by way of the superb new imprint, RH Graphics. In the first of two stories in this book, "Aster Makes Some Poorly Thought-Through Wishes," we learn that Aster is a city girl transplanted (temporarily, she thinks) to the mountains in the middle of nowhere in anticipation of a great and potentially dangerous migration of an ancient, oversized, angry flock of birds. Aster adjusts to her somewhat lonely rural life grudgingly as her older brother returns to the city for college and her mother works tirelessly on a solution of the rapidly approaching problem of the birds. Forced outdoors, Aster meets a shepherd and her pack of woolly dogs. The woman, who says she (and her pack/flock) is the only person left to protect the mountain, immediately senses something in Aster and gives her her least woolly dog as a companion. Aster names the wool-less pup Buzz and the pair bond instantly, which is good, as Aster gets herself into trouble almost as quickly when she stumbles upon a wish-granting trickster named Rapscallion. Aster and Buzz fall prey to and ultimately outwit a trickster granting wishes.
After Aster and Buzz (who can now communicate by way of some magical mischief) outsmart the trickster, they find themselves battling an even more destructive force in, "Aster Gets a Magical Fox Exceedingly Upset." Meeting the magical fox, who is also the King of Autumn, the pair learn that the shepherd (who now allows them to call her Granny) is the Queen of Summer. When the passing of the Crown of Seasons from Granny to the Fox goes haywire, everyone has to scramble to fight the break in time that results and the growing fury and mistrust of the King of Autumn. Fortunately, the very cool Chestnut Knights find a fanboy who sways them from their service to the King of Autumn, who ultimately meets a surprising, if not adorable, end. A simple question from Aster sets up the next book in the series.
While there are no characters of color in this series, girl power bursts off of every page of this graphic novel that will remind readers of Luke Pearson's HILDA comics.