Monday 4 September 2023

The Magic Gems: Lily Halfmoon

The Magic Gems: Lily Halfmoon by Xavier Bonet (Allen & Unwin) Graphic Novel RRP $16.99 ISBN 978 1 7611 80354 and 9781761180354

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Xavier Bonet is a self-taught international illustrator and comic artist. He has illustrated many children’s books and lives in Barcelona, Spain.

Lily Halfmoon has moved house, and at her new school she meets Gigi and Mai. They take her to the library, which is really The Royal Library of magic studies. Inside this magical world Lily discovers that she’s a witch and that she must keep her identity a secret. Her task is to protect the people of Piedraville from evil. This gets tricky when there’s a dangerous creature on the loose. 

Bonet has written dialogue that is engaging and clever. But my birthday is tomorrow. We know… Your present is a box of coloured pencils!  Zoe that’s not how presents work. Instantly you know that something is odd and want to know more. Lily is a strong character, and the secondary characters are just as strong and well-rounded. The story setting is child relatable and mirrors what children worry about at school and home.  The page turns keep a reader wanting to know more. Lily, nothing happens by accident.

The animal guardians are matched to their owners and the gems hold different powers. The language is engaging, and the dialogue uses questioning and answering to move the plot along or to share information. Really? What power does it hold? I love that as the story builds, information is built into the text. For example, Cleaning Slime is a cleaning potion and there are two full pages of information including how to make and use it.

The illustrations are gorgeous. Vivid, bright, and warm, they create a totally believable and engaging story world. When information about magic is shared, the pages are distinct and detailed with floral borders. This adds to the authenticity by looking scientific. The body language and facial expressions of the characters are cartoon-like, and the action is propelled with perspective and movement. I love how the page spreads are varied in shape and size according to the needs of the story.

The Magic Gems: Lily Halfmoon is a graphic novel for those aged 7-11 years. The themes of friendship and letting your own special talents shine are popular with this age group. This book is an exciting read that is sure to capture readers and spark their imagination.

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