Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 185

Ravina The Witch?

by Junko Mizuno
Genre notes: faery tale
48 pages
ISBN: 178585853X (Amazon)

Ravina The Witch? barely straddles the line between picture book and comics but is sold as a "graphic novel." I like that because it toys with our perceptions and for those of us who don't yet see picture books as comics. Most of the pages in Ravina would be considered splash pages (in normal picture book fashion) and all words are in narrative blocks rather than in word balloons. There are some pages broken into something approximating panels, but none of that really matters because deep down at bedrock, picture books *are* comics.

So why highlight this one in particular? Why not talk up Where The Wild Things Are or In The Night Kitchen or Capybopy or The Garden of Abdul Gasazi or something else notable? No reason, really. Probably just because I doubt many people will encounter Ravina AND its a picture book for mature readers so not likely to hit the Caldecott circuit.

Ravina The Witch? is about a girl who lives at the dump. She doesn't notice the smell because she's lived there all her life. Her best friends are crows and she speaks the language of crows. One day an old witch comes to the junk yard and dies and Ravina inherits her wand. The girl grows to young womanhood and goes out into the world where she meets a man who likes to wear dresses and discovers she can only work magic when deliriously drunk. Good times and hijinks and mortal peril ensue.

Mizuno's story is slight and amusing, but the book's value is in her illustrations. They are either to taste or not but if you like what Mizuno is cooking up with her chibi goth, then this volume will make a handsome book for coffee table display (if people even still use coffee tables like that).

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