Mini reviews: some very wholesome graphic novels ♡

May 27, 2023

TITLE: Heart and Brain: Onward to Good Things!
AUTHOR: Nick Seluk
GENRE: Humor
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 192pg

This book of inspirational and hilarious comics directly addresses the mental health challenges we’ve been through collectively as a species, with specific illustrations and new content that help people feel understood, seen, and encouraged.

Delivered with a humorous but sensitive touch, Onward to Good Things contains short graphic novel elements in three sections to tie together the themes and comics in one continuing short story that will help propel the author’s millions of fans—and brand-new readers—toward a brighter and more laugh-filled future.

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It’s been a minute since I spent some time with The Awkward Yeti, and I didn’t realize how much I missed these adorable, wholesome little comics. This collection was absolutely wonderful! There is so much in this book relating to anxiety, self-doubt, depression, mental health woes in general, as well as trying to find the balance between bettering ourselves and being happy with who we are right now. I laughed out loud, I found myself nodding and “aww”ing, and I generally loved everything about this book.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.

content warnings →
WARNINGS (click to expand):

anxiety, depression, insecurity, discussions of food and exercise (never presented in a body-shaming way)

representation →

discussions of anxiety, depression


TITLE: Batcat, Vol. 1: The Ghostly Guest
AUTHOR: Meggie Ramm
GENRE: Fantasy
AGE RANGE: Middle Grade
PAGES: 96pg

Batcat loves being all alone in their home on Spooky Island. Up in their tree house, they pass the time playing video games and watching TV. But when Batcat suddenly finds themself haunted by an annoying, ice cream–stealing ghost, they visit the local Island Witch for a spell to remove their ghastly guest permanently!

With their Ghost-B-Gone spell in hand, Batcat travels across Spooky Island to gather ingredients—to the Cavernous Caves where the bats tell them they’re too round to be a bat, and to the Whispering Cemetery where the cats will help only if they commit to being a true cat. But Batcat is neither and that’s what makes them special, right?

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Oh my gosh, this was SO CUTE! I love bats and cats (they’re 2 of my 3 favorite animals!), so a critter that’s 50% bat, 50% cat was guaranteed to be right up my alley, but I wasn’t expecting to LOVE this storyline so much. 💖

Batcat is an introverted, grouchy little thing who just wants to spend all of their time gaming and snacking, but that gets interrupted when a friendly ghost shows up and starts intruding on their “me time”. Batcat decides to enlist the help of the local witch to make a spell to get rid of the ghost, but it sends them on a journey of finding not only 3 mystical items, but also finding out a lot about who they are as the one and only Batcat!

I loved the moral here—that nobody is limited to being just one thing and we should always be ourselves—and of course I was all warm and fuzzy over the sweet friendship that began to bloom in the end of the story. I’m so glad this is intended to be a series because I need more, and I’ve even pre-ordered a finished copy for my kid because I know he’ll love this, too!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.

content warnings →
WARNINGS (click to expand):

cutesy depictions of ghosts, skeletons, spooky caves, and graveyards

representation →

Batcat uses they/them pronouns (the author is nonbinary so I’m assuming this is intended as a very casual way of pointing out that being “more than one thing” is okay when it comes to genders, too!)


TITLE: The Moth Keeper
AUTHOR: Kay O’Neill
GENRE: Fantasy
AGE RANGE: Middle Grade
PAGES: 272pg

Anya is finally a Moth Keeper, the protector of the lunar moths that allow the Night-Lily flower to bloom once a year. Her village needs the flower to continue thriving and Anya is excited to prove her worth and show her thanks to her friends with her actions, but what happens when being a Moth Keeper isn’t exactly what Anya thought it would be?

The nights are cold in the desert and the lunar moths live far from the village. Anya finds herself isolated and lonely. Despite Anya’s dedication, she wonders what it would be like to live in the sun. Her thoughts turn into an obsession, and when Anya takes a chance to stay up during the day to feel the sun’s warmth, her village and the lunar moths are left to deal with the consequences.

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I’m always craving the next Kay O’Neill title. Their books are so cozy and gentle, with beautiful, soft art and lovable characters, and they always manage to tackle such important conversations: in this case, burnout and how lonely that feeling can be. I love that this book exists for kids right now, especially knowing how many kids these days are feeling so crushed by juggling school, everyday life, the pandemic, and the state of the world in general. I think this story’s going to hit home for a lot of readers. ♥

I’ll admit that this was missing a special spark that I usually feel with Kay’s books and I didn’t find myself connecting to the characters as much as I typically do, and I think perhaps that’s because this story felt too big for its page count, especially with how many of the panels held no dialogue or plot development. That said, I still enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend picking up a copy!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.

content warnings →
WARNINGS (click to expand):

burnout, loneliness, abandonment, anxiety, a brief depiction of a neglectful/emotionally abusive parent

representation →

a side character is disabled (has an undisclosed chronic illness and walks with a cane)


 

destiny

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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

6 Comments
    1. Batcat sounds so fun! I love the combo of cat and bat. Also didn’t realize The Moth Keeper was Kay O’neill. I love The Tea Dragon Society books so much. I’ll definitely need to pick it up at some point.

    1. I do love a good graphic novel, I think my favs currently are Lore Olympus, and the Tea Society. Moth Keeper definitely looks like something I would enjoy

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