The Whiskers sisters return in another magical woodland adventure.

The odd little trio, Mia the cat-girl, Maya with pink hair and antlers, and silent little May, are enjoying some cozy storytelling with their grandpa, the Guardian of the Forest. They’re arguing about whether the ghost in the stories really exists, when Mrs. Owl shows up with a frightening tale of a ghost encountered on her mail route. The Guardian takes off to handle the situation, so the girls are home alone when Mrs. Fox appears with her own problem—Tim has fallen into a hole by the old, possibly haunted, stump! The girls are determined to help, but what will they do when they encounter the ghost?

Delicate artwork shows a magical forest with creatures ranging from spooky to friendly; frisky squirrels, elegant foxes, and several new magical characters. Most of the characters have a similar body-type; long, slender legs that make them look like they are tiptoeing and wild, fanciful hair or antlers curling up above their heads. The sisters are the exception, with sturdy, more proportioned bodies. One of the best scenes is a wordless, full spread of the sisters and Tom, a fox cub, traveling through the underground cave system. Creepy and fascinating creatures hover in the background as the four adventurers wander through a twisted landscape that typifies the odd forest they live in. Most of the panels have a green or violet hue, possibly foreshadowing the new character they discover at the end, who is covered in long, lavender hair.

While there are magical and fairy elements woven throughout the story, this book has more in common with a Miyazaki film than a typical fantasy graphic novel. Being the second title in the series, there’s no clear introduction of which sister is which, and there’s also no additional character development. The two older sisters remain largely interchangeable in personality, and only readers who have carefully read the first book will understand little May’s occasionally understanding animals when her sisters can’t—although they can now understand adult animals, just not the babies? It’s really not clear. In some ways this title has a clearer plot than the first story—scary ghost, lost fox cub, journey to find him, startling discovery—but the sisters abilities and personalities are still unclear and the plot still wanders rather vaguely through the book with more emphasis on the odd creatures than the storyline. It feels younger, especially with the often juvenile behavior of the sisters, but the “ghost” is definitely creepy and until all is revealed at the end the story has a rather spooky feel.

This won’t have the wide appeal of Cici: A Fairy’s Tale, a similarly magical tale for younger readers, but if you have both the first and second volumes available, it will find an audience. Readers who enjoy Hotel Strange, Hilda, or other gently mystical fantasies will be happy to check out this new series and follow the fantastical adventures of the Whiskers Sisters.

The Whiskers Sisters, vol. 2: Mystery of the Tree Stump Ghost
by Miss PATY
ISBN: 9781512425284
Lerner Graphic Universe, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: 6-10

  • 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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