Lerner Graphic Universe brings another French comics creator to the US: Miss PATY and her Whiskers Sisters series. The sisters live alone in the woods, waiting for their grandfather to return from a long trip. Maya, who has pink hair and antlers, is the oldest and into fashion and being in charge. Mia is a blue cat and she likes playing games and cooking. May is the littlest, with orange hair and big pink eyes.

When Maya and Mia get a mysterious letter, they start preparing for a big party for all the woodland creatures. They forget to tell May, who cannot yet talk, what’s in the letter. Frustrated at being left out, she sneaks into Mrs. Owl’s mail bag. Little May spends a fun day in the forest delivering mail with the animals while her sisters clean and prepare for a party. There are some anxious moments when they realize she’s missing, but the day ends with a party and a surprise for everyone.

I liked the cartoonish and colorful art in general, but found the depiction of the three sisters to be a little unnerving. Maya and May have odd paste-white skin, and Maya’s pupil-less pink eyes push the character a little past cute and into creepy territory. The forest scenes are sweeter, and readers who like seeing lots of green trees and cute animals will enjoy the pictures, as well as the little woodland creatures that whisk about the pages. The art shifts easily from close-ups of the cute creatures and sisters to wide landscapes of the forest with lots of details in the trees and bushes. There’s a sleepy bear, friendly hawk, and bevy of cute squirrels, not to mention the nervous and absent-minded owl.

There really isn’t much story here and what there is doesn’t necessarily hang together well. While the sisters all have very distinct appearances, their names and actions are so similar that it’s hard to tell them apart. May can’t talk with her sisters, but she can talk with the animals who understand her. But her sisters can also understand the animals. There’s no explanation for why one of the sisters is a cat and one has fluffy antlers. Their grandfather is the “guardian of the forest,” but there’s no explanation for why he’s gone on a long trip or how he interacts with the forest. However, the book works as an introduction to the three sisters and their forest and the animals that live in it.

It’s not a particularly badly written or illustrated book; I think it just did not translate well. The simple adventures of May in the forest are depicted lovingly, and there is plenty of cuteness throughout. The ideal audience for this book are young readers who have a high reading ability, but aren’t ready for more mature stories yet. Presumably future volumes will expand the adventures of the sisters further and offer more explanations of how the forest works. The book is available in paperback or library binding, both in a large, picture-book size format. I would recommend it to readers who like cute and colorful art with sweet, simple stories and who enjoy Lerner’s other works like Tib and Tumtum, Hotel Strange, or Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox.

The Whiskers Sisters, vol. 1: May’s Wild Walk
by Miss PATY
ISBN: 9781512454161
Lerner Graphic Universe, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 8-10

  • Jennifer

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Matheson Memorial Library

    Reviewer

    Jennifer Wharton is the Youth Services Librarian at Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, Wisconsin where she maintains the juvenile and young adult graphic novel collections and was responsible for creating the library’s adult graphic novel collection. She is constantly looking for great new comics for kids and teens and new ways to incorporate graphic storytelling in programming. Jennifer blogs for preschool through middle grade at JeanLittleLibrary and has an MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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