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Today’s pick is a cozy little graphic novel with the most charming illustrations and a quirky little premise. I devoured it in a single sitting and you will, too!
Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen
In a fantastical world where a witch’s carefully tended garden has yielded sentient vegetables and fruits that help her tend to the produce, we find Garlic, a fretful little bulb with a lot of anxieties. She is often late and has big questions about her existence and purpose. When a far away castle in the woods shows signs of inhabitants, the other vegetables and the witch become fearful the vampire has returned. Everyone knows vampires hate garlic — so who better to send to discover the truth? But Garlic isn’t so sure she’s cut out for such a big task.
I loved the illustrations of all of the vegetables, and I really enjoyed how Paulsen gradually revealed the world and the magic, hinting at the backstory and showing off the relationships between the vegetables. Garlic is very sweet and relatable, even as she struggles with anxiety and uncertainty and is afraid to face the vampire. She finds courage in the belief of her friends and the witch, and discovers that sometimes the things we’re most afraid of offer wonderful opportunity. The magic system and the vibes of this story are wonderfully cottagecore, with an earthy color palette, charming vegetable characters, and humor that is sweet. This is a lovely little story about friendship, bravery, learning to be open minded, and second chances! I could read many more volumes about the adorable Garlic, and lucky for us there is a sequel called Garlic and the Witch!
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