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The Children’s Book Review
Written and illustrated by Svetlana Chmakova
Age Range: 8-12
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: JY (June 16, 2020)
What to expect: Spooky Graphic Novel, Mystery, Humor, and Relatable Themes
Written in a voice perfect for the tween-set, Be Wary of the Silent Woods is the first to come of a series of entertaining, spooky graphic novels by Svetlana Chmakova.
Off the misty coast of New England where mermaids throw trash back at the tourists, lies a small sleepy town named Laitham. During the day, humans walk the streets in what seems like normalcy. By night, the town is populated with vampires, shapeshifters, mermaids, weirns, and forgotten magic. Ailis Maeve Thornton is a weirn—a witch born with a protective, loyal guardian spirit, known as an Astral, that is bound to her for life. Ailis’s parents are out of town and, while staying with her Grandma, who is as tough as old rusty nails, she discovers a newspaper clipping hidden in the attic that marks the beginning of a mystery about to unravel.
The winning combination of mystery, spook, sass, and humor will have readers willingly turning the pages to the end. The creepy and perilous moments—including kidnappings, a masked night creature, a mysterious evil villain, and a ghostly old mansion—are infused with just enough humor to take the scare factor down a bunch of notches. Themes of popularity, mean girls, competitiveness, first crushes, friendship, and family relations are interwoven effortlessly and bubble with relatability. The characters are diverse in both heritage and personality, setting the scene for any number of directions that the series may take in upcoming books. While it may sound like a lot is going on, and there is, it all works seamlessly together to create a delightful read with illustrations—infused regularly with misty purple colors—that impeccably punctuate the story.
The Weirn Books: Be Wary of the Silent Woods is an easy pick for both reluctant and ravenous readers who appreciate a fast-paced story. An excellent choice for fans of Scooby-doo and pals, too.
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About the Author-Illustrator
Svetlana Chmakova was born and raised in Russia until the age of 16 when her family emigrated to Canada. She quickly made a name for herself with works like Dramacon, Nightschool, the manga adaptation of James Patterson’s Witch & Wizard, and the webcomic Chasing Rainbows. She graduated from Sheridan College with a three-year Classical Animation Diploma. Her Berrybrook Middle School series, which includes Awkward, Brave, and Crush, has been a runaway success and stand out as some of today’s most popular middle-grade graphic novels.
For more information, visit https://jyforkids.com/.
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