Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.
Review by Ann Ketcheson.
It is the future on Earth, and climate change has done seemingly irreparable damage to the planet Gaia and her friend Toks decide it is up to them to save the world. Not only must they combat natural phenomena, but there are American politicians whose goal it is to exploit the last remaining oil fields – in Antarctica. To add to the chaos, a super villain is created whose aim is to destroy Gaia and thwart her plans to save the planet.
This graphic novel mixes science fiction and fantasy with action and adventure in a classic superhero, good versus evil story. Young adult readers will enjoy the non stop action. The author uses imaginative characters to add interest to the plot. Gaia’s friend Toks is a hybrid of alien and machine, and, in a genome science laboratory, a ‘human’ is created who becomes her nemesis. The scientists vainly hope this human/creature can be controlled. Also added to the mix of fantasy in the book are objects, such as an enchanted brush which can revive life on Earth from its basic DNA. Statues in a Buddhist temple come to life as do the Xian terracotta warriors.
The graphics are bold and colourful and add interest, imagination and detail to the story. Readers who prefer less print and more illustrations will enjoy the animation on every page. Occasionally the background is so dark that the small print can be difficult to read, and there are a couple of typos in the text, but these details do not take away from the overall attraction of the book.
Author Lydia Lee is clearly passionate about environmental issues and the politics which prevent our facing them. The first section of Mother Earth paints a graphic and terrible portrait of the future if steps are not taken to change the current way of living and thinking. Young adult readers will be both educated and entertained by this graphic novel and will anticipate the sequel in order to follow Gaia’s quest right to the end.
Ann Ketcheson, a retired high school teacher librarian and teacher of English and French, lives in Ottawa, ON.
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spunk2018 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 14
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