Friendship to the max! Join campers April, Molly, Mal, Jo and Ripley on their latest magic-infused adventure in novel form written by Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer, 2014) and illustrated by Lumberjanes artist and co-creator Brooke Allen.

The campers of Roanoke Cabin come across a meadow of Clow Bells and unicorns, and they do not smell nice! Nearby, they also find a mysterious mountain. April, who loves a challenge, is determined to climb the mountain. Since the mountain doesn’t seem to be in any guidebooks, April is sure they she will earn the Extraordinary Explorers medal if they are the first to climb it.

Climbing the mountain is not an easy feat to begin with, but April is determined to see the quest through with everyone. As with many of the Lumberjanes stories, an adventure that is seemingly simple ends up having twists and turns. Rather than being made up of lots of rocks, This Mountain (they find what they think is the name of the mountain on an old sign near the mountain), is made up of solid ice and proves to be a very steep climb.

Mal is this story’s secondary protagonist. Despite wanting to be with her cabin friends, she feels like she’s the only one who ever gets anxious about their adventures. And this latest one is no exception. All she wants from this mission is for it to be over in time to get to play music with Wren from Zodiac Cabin.

Their quest becomes a bit more complicated when they find out that This Mountain isn’t really a mountain, but a place called Cumulous that drifts around, disappearing and reappearing at various times. Cumulous is inhabited by laid-back creatures, including Swish and Flap. They have long limbs, puffy beards, and their relaxed speech pattern includes words like “dude” and “sup?” To the girls’ surprise, there is also a Lumberjane living with them. Lady Dana Deveroe Anastasia Mistytoe is obsessed with point systems and loves a challenge, which is how she ended up on Cumulous a long time ago. Lady Dana is horrified to hear that the point system has been abolished and that so much has changed from when she was a camper. When the girls realize that they might end up stuck like Lady Dana, they must use their Lumberjane knowledge to make their way back home–and hopefully, they’ll get a little help from counselor Jen and camp director Rosie.

Fans of the Lumberjanes graphic novels will not be disappointed when they read Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power. Enough background information and character descriptions also make this accessible for those new to Lumberjanes and the energetic and diverse characters that populate Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types. Reminiscent of the graphic novel, chapters begin with an excerpt from the Lumberjanes field manual. Art throughout the book, utilizing black, white and green colors, adds to the enjoyment of the story. End pages include information on various badges. The scouts’ enthusiasm for their quest, realistic dialogue and a fun adventure with a positive message will keep readers engaged.

Lumberjanes, vol. 1: Unicorn Power!
by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Brooke Allen
ISBN: 9781419727252
Amulet Books, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 10-14

  • Marissa Lieberman

    Past Reviewer

    Marissa graduated with her MLS from Queens College, NY in 2011 and is a children’s librarian at the East Orange Public Library, NJ where she gets to share her passion of anime and manga by running the tween anime club, ordering manga and graphic novels, and planning Tosho-con. She organized Tosho-con, the first library anime convention in Nassau County, NY back in 2010 and continues to run this successful convention at her current library. Marissa has written articles and presented about graphic novels, manga and library conventions for School Library Journal, New York Comic Con, and library conferences. She also reviews for School Library Journal and Voices of Youth Advocates.

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