GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Ember and the Island of Lost Creatures by Jason Payment


From Treasure in the Lake ’s Jason Pamment comes a story of friendship and self-discovery, in a gorgeously illustrated world perfect for fans of Hilda and Over the Garden Wall . Fitting in can be hard, especially when you’re as small as Ember, a tiny boy living alone in a city of giants. But Ember’s luck changes when he meets Lua, a kindly sea turtle, who escorts him across the ocean to a school for little creatures on a wondrous island. ­Here, Ember learns that first days can be hard, too—especially when they involve bizarre, fantastical cave-dwellers, ferocious storms, and classmates that, from the very start, aren’t at all interested in making friends. As he struggles to adapt to this new world, Ember finds himself at the heart of an otherworldly mystery, facing a strange monster from the deep that threatens everything he holds dear. On the surface, Ember’s classmates may seem of little help, but any good student of nature knows appearances can be deceiving—and friendship can come from the most unexpected of places.


What a stunning graphic novel!  The appealing illustrations, interesting characters, and gorgeous setting make Ember and the Island of Lost Creatures a winning book all the way around. As the story begins, readers find Ember living alone and lonely in a big city. After inadvertently being seen by a human child, he flees into the drainage system that takes him to the sea, where he meets a sea turtle who tells him of a place he could be accepted and go to school. But the island isn't as welcoming as Ember expects. As he faces various dangers on the island along with rudeness from his classmates, he wonders if he truly belongs anywhere. Ember makes a winning hero with his kindness and willingness to reach out to others, but he is truly tested on the island. The other characters provide plenty of interesting interactions. I especially enjoyed the plant creature that is the teacher, despite his seeming hostility. The book has all that I enjoy in a graphic novel, beautiful art, intriguing characters, a fascinating, unique setting, and a great combination of the natural and the fantastical. Highly recommended.


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