Today, I am reviewing two graphic novels from TOON Books. Both are written and illustrated by David Nytra. They are entitled The Secret of the Stone Frog and Windmill Dragons. They also both focus on two children named Leah and Alan. Let me tell you about them.
Leah and Alan are your typical brother and sister. One day, however, they awake in their beds to find that they have been transported to the middle of a forest. Not wanting to be lost in this unknown forest forever, they begin to look for a way home. That is when they encounter a stone frog (hence the title of the book The Secret of the Stone Frog) who sets them on a path home. In typical child fashion, they don't stay on the path for long, because Alan is hungry. The first place they stop is a castle with a very large-headed woman. The lady has bees as pets that eat words to prevent you from speaking, so they must escape her and her bees. With Alan still being hungry, they wander to a different area with an orchard full of giant candied cherries. The owners of the orchards were proper talking lions, who were helpful in getting them part of the way home by riding on giant rabbits. They eventually get home, but not before more dangerous, adventures.
In Windmill Dragons, Leah and Alan are sitting in the woods at their house. Leah is reading a book and Alan sees some pictures inside the book that interests him. He asks Leah to read to him, and that is where the adventure begins. Leah and Alan are transported to a land where there is magic and they are knights. The magic, unfortunately, has stirred up the windmills and turned them into dragons. On their quest to defeat these dragons and restore order to this world, they must encounter a troll, save an aged knight, and face many other obstacles. I normally try not to spoil books like this, but if you've read the first book, then you know that they are able to defeat the dragons and return to their own home.
The illustration style in these books can be described as pen and ink. It is not colored, but it is highly detailed and makes the pages and the story come to life. The stories themselves clearly draw from popular literature, which is most obvious in the second story taking inspiration from Don Quixote. There are several things I liked about these books, including the close bond of Leah and Alan and the way the author/artist captures the power of dreams and imagination. Dreams and imagination are two powerful entities when you are a child, and while we might forget that as we grow older, to children they are just as real, if not more real than the actual world we occupy. The only complaint I have is that the books are two different sizes. The Secret of the Stone Frog is approximately a 6" x 9" book, but the Windmill Dragons is approximately a 7" x 10" book, and this creates an incompatible look on your shelf when the books are placed next to each other. If you can get over this gripe, then you should really check out these fanciful graphic novels!
These books were provided to me by TOON Books in exchange for honest reviews. If you found these reviews helpful, please click here and/or here and hit Yes!