Cat’s Cradle: The Golden Twine

First Second. Jun. 2022. 128p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781250625359. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781250625366.
Gr 4-8–A foundling was born in the Land of Monsters and brought to the Valley of Galatea by a fire-breathing dragon, or so the story goes. Suri’s claim is the stuff of legends. But as an orphan, she tags along with a group of traveling merchants and pays her way by telling monster stories for money. Her dream of becoming a monster tamer plunges her into a fantastical world of mythical creatures and a ball of golden twine. When she uses the twine as a chain for a dragon tooth amulet that she purchased from a peddler, she unexpectedly starts to find her “great power.” This first in a trilogy is a reprint of a story that was published in 2012, with new scenes added and artwork that has been redrawn and recolored. Terracotta and black Prismacolor pencil lines add warmth and structure. The color palette of blue, green, gold, and crimson is rich and applied digitally with textural effects. Shadow and light are used to create both spooky nighttime and soft daytime scenes. The pages engage readers with a mix of full-page panels and irregular panel layouts. Rioux masterfully uses perspective to offer a cinematic experience, with eye-level, worm’s-eye, and bird’s-eye views of the expressive characters and thrilling action. Following a cliffhanger ending, back matter includes excerpts from Suri’s journal that provide amusing facts about the magical creatures she encounters.
VERDICT A fantasy graphic novel that provides young readers with quick scares and a fast-moving storyline.

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