I am featuring a new graphic novel in which I have become a huge fan of the series and the author. Some of you have may of heard of Noelle Stevenson already with her other work, Nimona, having been one of the finalists for this year’s National Book Award in the Young People’s Literature category. Stevenson, along with Shannon Watters and Grace Ellis with Brooke A. Allen as illustrator, created a laugh-out-loud, fun adventure with five girls as the attempt to earn their Lumberjanes badges at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. If the name of the camp doesn’t give a clear enough picture about how silly this story is, I have included a few pages of the graphic novel at the bottom of this blog post.
The five girls, Jo, April, Molly, Ripley, and Mal, witness an elderly woman transforming into a bear and follow her into the woods and promptly get attacked by a pack of mutant wolves. They continue to encounter other supernatural creatures along the way, all the while managing to earn their Lumberjane badges and aggravating, Jen, their scout-leader. The five girls will be easily relatable to readers with each girl being having their own strengths and weaknesses. Lumberjanes is also very inclusive and diverse with Jo being transgender and Molly and Mal having a mutual crush. As the girls encounter a range of mythical monsters from a water monster to a giant living statue that must be defeated in an arm wrestling contest the girls must depend on each other strengths in puzzles, math, archery, and others, in order to overcome the trials they discover. When they continue to get in trouble with Jen they are brought to Rosie, the camp scout-master who subtly reveals to the girls that she knows more about the supernatural creatures and events happening around the camp than she is willing to reveal.
Allen’s illustrations lend themselves well to the goofy story and really draw out the personalities of each character. The Lumberjanes graphic novel had me laughing at almost every page and not wanting to put it down. Readers will continue flipping through the pages to learn more about the story of the Lumberjane scouts and to see if anymore is revealed about why all these events are happening. I am eagerly awaiting the chance to be able to read the next volume, which just came out in October, and I think readers of all ages will agree.
Lumberjanes, vol 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Grace Ellis and illustrated by Brooke A. Allen. 9781608866878. April 2015. Gr 7-12.
Lumberjanes, vol 2: Friendship to the Max by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Grace Ellis and illustrated by Brooke A. Allen. 9781608867370. October 2015. Gr 7-12.
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