Created by Pat McHale, Cartoon Network’s miniseries Over the Garden Wall has enchanted fans young and old with its over the top characters, dark fantasy storytelling, musical numbers, and creative storytelling. The comic series based on the show takes those elements and continues the adventures of the main characters, expanding the world of The Unknown. The newest addition to the comic series, entitled Over the Garden Wall: Soulful Symphonies, written by Birdie Willis and illustrated by Rowan MacColl, combines the show’s scary and musical plot points into a tale that can fit right into the original story.

Greg, Wirt, bluebird Beatrice, and Greg’s frog are still on the road within The Unknown, searching for their way home. They stumble upon a quiet town with no citizens in sight, except for theater owner Sophie and her two dramatic sisters Mezz and Altamira. The boys are invited to audition for the theater’s upcoming production, giving them a chance to exercise their musical skills. The boys are having fun creating new musical numbers, but Beatrice discovers something dark and sinister about the sisters and their theater. The bluebird must find a way to convince them that they are in danger before something terrible happens to them all.

For readers who are familiar with the cartoon series, or earlier comic issues, this title contains the familiar fun and dark whimsy the series is known for. Illustrator Rowan MacColl uses dark shadows and linework to bring up the suspicious atmosphere within the story. Two-page panels are used for most musical performances and plot revealing scenes to enhance the exposure of something serious or charming. The mysterious sisters are drawn with a suspicious appearance to them and their flair for the dramatics is shown within their actions and dialogue, allowing the reader to estimate the reason for the towns’ silence. Writer Birdie Willis has taken the unique qualities of the show and uses them to create a story that can fit right into the original story’s universe. Readers and fans will be reminded of the show’s musical interludes, Greg’s carefree behavior, and little nods to earlier adventures. The final reveal of the sisters and their theater takes a dark and scary turn, but the story ends on a high note (no pun intended) and a segue into the group’s next adventure into The Unknown.

This newest adventure of the Over the Garden Wall series will be well liked by young fans and readers in 3rd to 6th grade. It will make a great addition to any public or school library, especially for collections that have earlier issues of the comics and other graphic novel tie-ins to Cartoon Network shows. Not only will devoted readers enjoy it, those who are looking for a comic that delves into dark fantasy or the mystery genre will be intrigued with this newest adventure.

Over the Garden Wall: Soulful Symphonies
By Birdie Willis
Art by Rowan MacColl
ISBN: 9781684155569
Kaboom, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 9 – 12
Series ISBNS and Order

Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11)
Related to…: TV to Comic

  • Gloria

    | She/Her Children's Librarian, Elmont Memorial Library

    Gloria is a full-time children’s librarian at the Elmont Memorial Library in Long Island, New York where she runs a monthly STEAM program, a graphic novel book club, and storytime for preschoolers. During her free time, she is found reading anything and everything from the classics, to poetry, to the newest best seller. Her other interests include writing, online games, exploring new areas in her home state, and spending time with friends, family, and colleagues. She has also written articles and reviews for the website Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries and on her personal Goodreads page.

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