Author and Illustrator: Wendy Xu
Published November 16, 2021 by Quill Tree Books
Summary: Perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli and The Tea Dragon Society, this is a magically heartwarming graphic novel about self-acceptance and friendship.
Sophie is a young witch whose mother and grandmother pressure her to attend the Royal Magic Academy–the best magic school in the realm–even though her magic is shaky at best. To train for her entrance exams, Sophie is sent to relatives she’s never met.
Cousin Sage and Great-Aunt Lan seem more interested in giving Sophie chores than in teaching her magic. Frustrated, Sophie attempts magic on her own, but the spell goes wrong, and she accidentally entangles her magic with the magic of a young water dragon named Lir.
Lir is trapped on land and can’t remember where he came from. Even so, he’s everything Sophie isn’t–beloved by Sophie’s family and skilled at magic. With his help, Sophie might just ace her entrance exams, but that means standing in the way of Lir’s attempts to regain his memories. Sophie knows what she’s doing is wrong, but without Lir’s help, can she prove herself?
* Featured on the Today Show * An SLJ Best Book of the Year * A Nerdist Best Comic of the Year * A BookRiot Best Book of the Year *
About the Author: Wendy Xu is a bestselling, award-nominated Brooklyn-based illustrator and comics artist.
She is the creator of the middle grade fantasy graphic novel TIDESONG (2021 from HarperCollins/Quilltree) and co-creator of MOONCAKES, a young adult fantasy graphic novel published in 2019 from Oni Press. Her work has been featured on Catapult, Barnes & Noble Sci-fi/Fantasy Blog, and Tor.com, among other places.
You can find more art on her Instagram: @artofwendyxu or on twitter: @angrygirLcomics
Review: Whenever I read that something is reminiscent of Studio Ghibli, I get skeptical because Studio Ghibli’s work is just so magical; however, I had no reason to worry when it came to Tidesong. I can see why the publisher compares it to the Studio’s work–it is similarly illustrated (but with a Wendy Xu touch, which I love!), colorful, magical, and has that little extra sense of whimsy that’s hard to describe that I love in fantastical stories.
Sophie is such a great character, too! She represents so many who want to meet the expectations of those around her and whose positivity is crushing under that pressure. And Lir doesn’t seem like he will help her because he is PERFECT, but as we know, you can’t judge people without actually getting to know them.
What a fun and meaningful graphic novel–it is a favorite, and I am so excited to share it with students!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book will be in my school library, and it should be in yours, too! (Or your classroom library or public library!) Your fantasy/magical loving readers will devour this!
- Why does Sophie not feel confident in her magic?
- Why is Sophie forced to move to her great aunt’s house?
- How does Lir make Sophie feel? How does Lir change the narrative of the story?
- What was your first impression of Sophie’s great aunt? What do we learn about her that changes that impression?
- How did Sage and Great Aunt Lan differ in their welcoming of Sophie?
- Why is this graphic novel compared to Studio Ghibli?
Read This If You Love: Cat’s Cradle: The Golden Twine by Jo Rioux, Jukebox by Nidhi Chanani, Long Distance by Whitney Gardner, Little Witch Academia by Yoh Yoshinari, This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews, Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
**Thank you to SparkPoint Studio for providing a copy for review!**