Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 by Alex Alice

Paperback, 64 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by First Second
Source: Raincoast Books

I do not know much about European history but I dare say you do not need to when reading Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869. The first volume in what I believe is a series puts forward the question of space travel and what would happen if it was possible to travel in space earlier than history says it was.

To that end, the protagonist’s mother, a Claire Dulac, pilots a hot air balloon up into the heavens to search for a material called aether which can function as what we know as rocket fuel. Unfortunately things go wrong and she goes missing. Seraphin’s sure his mother is alive but his dad doesn’t hold much hope. Seraphin’s father is a highly sought engineer and a few years later, he is commanded to appear before someone should he want his wife’s diary and presumably last words. Seraphin’s dad is not at all inclined to follow the terse orders but Seraphin is adamant–what if this is a clue of his mother’s whereabouts?

At the train station, they are attacked by suspicious German-speaking people and in their efforts to get away from them, Seraphin and his father end up heeding the mysterious orders and find themselves at a king’s castle. The king is determined to make his way to the stars and he engages Seraphin’s dad’s services to make that into a possibility–aether has been discovered, you see.

The first volume describe’s Seraphin’s adventures as he helps his dad and makes new friends and uncovers a conspiracy that will lead to a rebellion and possible assassination. The art is beautiful and the story compelling. If you are into steampunk and history, you will enjoy this slim volume immensely. The book is more prose-heavy than other comics but I reckon the balance is just right. I have shared a few panels below to give you an idea of the art.

I quite enjoyed this volume and am looking forward to the next–it ends on an infernal cliffhanger…literally. Hah. Recommended.

How to Make Friends with a Ghost – Rebecca Green

How to Make Friends with a Ghost – Rebecca Green

Hardcover, 40 pages Published September 5th 2017 by Tundra Books (NY) Source: Publisher How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green is a delightful picturebook that functions as a guide for little kids with ambitions to be friendly with ghosts. Filled with helpful tips such as what to feed ghosts and how to befriend […]

Sarabella’s Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner

Sarabella’s Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner

Hardcover Published September 5th 2017 by Dial Books Source: Publisher Sarabella’s Thinking Cap follows Sarabella who thinks wondrous thoughts but has difficulty articulating them to her family and friends. She frequently slips into daydreams and her teachers complain of her inability to concentrate in class. The picturebook follows Sarabella’s journey to express herself using a […]

Imagine with words by John Lennon, illustration by Jean Jullien and a forward by Yoko Ono Lennon

Imagine with words by John Lennon, illustration by Jean Jullien and a forward by Yoko Ono Lennon

Hardcover, 32 pages Published September 21st 2017 by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books Source: Raincoast Books John Lennon’s very famous song Imagine is reimagined (hah) as a picturebook and is released today on the International Day of Peace in partnership with Amnesty International. Fans of the song and of John Lennon will be able to pass on their love […]

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Hardcover, 320 pages Published September 12th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) Source: Raincoast Books Mitali Perkins brings to life three generations of Bengali women who wade through societal pressure and parental expectations to grow their own happiness. When we first meet Sonia and Tara Das, they are on the plane on their way to […]

The Sand Warrior (5 Worlds #1) by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Xanthe Bouma (Illustrations), Matt Rockefeller (Illustrations), Boya Sun (Illustrations)

The Sand Warrior (5 Worlds #1) by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Xanthe Bouma (Illustrations), Matt Rockefeller (Illustrations), Boya Sun (Illustrations)

Hardcover, 248 pages Published May 2nd 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers Source: Publisher This is going to be an extremely short review. Seriously: A sudden rebellion destructs the relative peace holding together the worlds and invites chaos to reign supreme. Only a not very good sanddancer and her two sidekicks, one of them […]