Lily Halfmoon: The Magic Gems
A & U Children’s, 2023
80pp., graphic novel, RRP $A16.99
It’s Lily’s birthday and she has moved to a new village, a new house and now it’s time for her to start a new school. She has all the same trepidations about it as other children do but when she gets there she finds things are a bit different from her previous school because this one is especially for witches to learn their craft! Lily had no idea she had magical powers but now a lot of things in her life start to make sense.
And now, in The Royal Academy and Library of Magic Studies, Creatures, Potions and Spells (aka The Library) she must learn magic, and find her animal guardian and gemstone, while keeping her new identity a secret -even her family can’t be told. With her friends Gigi and Mai she is part of a group of witches who have to protect the people of Piedraville from evil, tricky when there is a dangerous creature on the loose. And she’s found a rare and unique gem that no witch has ever had before – what does it all mean?
There are so many stories in this vein for emerging independent readers to choose from, and this one appeals because it can be both a stepping stone to more complex reads like Harry Potter as well as to the graphic novel format because it combines the new-to-some format with elements of a traditional layout. There are the familiar panels and speech bubbles of the former, although the text is written in the usual way with capital letters, lower case and punctuation, as well as the conventions of the latter for introductions, instructions, maps and other diagrams.
Those readers who are verging on independence often view “real readers” as those who can read thick books or graphic novels and that is the yardstick by which they measure their success, so this is the ideal bridge for them capturing their imaginations through a popular theme but putting it in a setting that they can relate to. Genius.