While there are three graphic novels in the Hereville series, each book does well as a stand-alone. How Mirka Caught a Fish (second in the series) has found a home in the teen loft collection. In this particular tale, our heroine Mirka summons a reluctantly dutiful troll, seeks support from a frighteningly powerful witch, and outsmarts a magical wishing fish with a bad temper. As Mirka follows her curiosity and upholds her duty to her half-sister, we learn about the values and way of life for this religious blended-family. Mirka is an “11-year-old time-traveling Orthodox Jewish babysitter,” with a penchant for misadventure. Ultimately the choice she must face is a difficult one, but Mirka has learned from her stepmother that doing the right thing is meaningless if you only do it when it’s easy.
The Okay Witch is a page-turner of a graphic novel about an unlikely witch just discovering the truth about her new powers and her family’s centuries-old history as outcasts in a small Massachusetts town. 13-year-old Moth is a relatable heroine with quirks, insecurities, and a wicked sense of humor. The crisp vibrant illustrations perfectly capture Moth’s larger-than-life emotions and the kinetics of her journey. From the bright colors of Moth’s cozy home, to the drab earth tones of 1600’s New England, to the cool pastels of ethereal Hecate (the mystical realm of witches), the changing color pallets beautifully express changes in mood and energy from scene to scene and across various settings.
I especially love how the panels are composed to convey spot-on comedic timing in some scenes, and a hushed sense of wonder in other scenes. Despite all the supernatural content, this story portrays some very realistic mother-daughter relationship challenges. Anyone who has ever felt dismissed, underestimated, or disallowed from seeking adventure will surely find a friend in Moth.