Saturday 11 May 2024

Lily Halfmoon The Witches Council

Lily Halfmoon: The Witches Council by Xavier Bonet (Allen & Unwin Australia) Fantasy Graphic Novel RRP $17.99 9781761069727

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Xavier Bonet is a self-taught illustrator and comic book artist who lives in Barcelona. He has illustrated many children’s books including Omnia by Laura Gallego, the volumes of Michael Dahl’s Really Scary Stories, and The Keepers Trilogy by Lian Tanner.

Lily Halfmoon is a witch who has an animal guardian and a powerful magic gemstone. She and her witch friends protect the town of Piedraveille from dangers. It’s Samhain, when magic is at its strongest, and witches from all over the world have gathered. Lily and her witch friends will have to fight off monsters and dark magic at the Samhain party because a mysterious person is after her rare moonstone. Lily must discover why this is? If they get their hands on the stone everything they hold dear could be destroyed. Can Lily find the strength and power to fight for her gemstone and what she believes?

Bonet has included an information page about Lily so that anyone can pick up this book and read it independently from the first book in the series -- The Magic Gems. Because the book is a graphic novel, the story is told with dialogue and images. The dialogue moves the plot, shares information, and gives character information. Bonet uses language that is efficient, magic related and child friendly. It’s the most special time of the year for witches. The world building is believable, and a young reader can use their existing knowledge of our world. Included in the story are information pages like a Witches Lunar Calendar. Samhain is also known as Halloween. It's the night witches celebrate the arrival of the new year.

Bonet also makes it clear there are magical people and non-magical people which makes this story understandable. I love the magic demonstrations, workshops, riddles, and races that are immersive and fun that the main characters experience, while a deeper plot brews under the surface.  The story has layers, so readers of different reading levels can experience the story and be entertained and thought-provoked. I love how the text and images are perfectly balanced to create page turns and keep you reading in an immersive fantasy world.  

The gorgeous illustrations are bright, imaginative, bold, and colourful.  Bonet’s love of comic books shines through in his illustrations that are detailed and have a modern comic book feel. The focus remains on Lily and her friends as they journey through the story. I love how when the story reaches its climax, Bonet uses a whole page spread to show the power and magic as it reveals who is trying to trick Lily and get her moon gemstone. I also discovered that Lily’s dad in the story looks a lot like Xavier Bonet so look and see what you think.


Lily Halfmoon The Witches Council is a fantasy graphic book that is the second book in this series and it’s enthralling. It’s a great read for the 7-11 years age group for its gripping storyline and highly engaging illustrations. This book is recommended for children who love fantasy and magic realism. It won’t disappoint, and I am sure there will be more of these books to come.

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