Parents' Guide to


By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Dark, violent retelling of creepy legend has gorgeous art.

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The story of the Pied Piper gets a fascinating -- and sinister -- treatment in this lush graphic novel exploring themes of bullying, fairness, justice, and abusive relationships. Author Jay Asher teams up with Jessica Freeburg for this complex reimagining of the familiar legend. It's plenty creepy, and readers willing to lean into the discomfort will find an unnerving portrayal of a pathologically abusive man: The piper homes in on an isolated, vulnerable woman and charms her even as he seeks to control her. Maggie evolves from victim to hero, recognizing him as a master manipulator and standing up for kindness and compassion despite her trauma.

An introductory note on what we know -- and don't know -- about what really happened in Hamelin sets a chilling stage for what's to come. And Jeff Stokely's illustrations give the story its strange, alluring mystery with rich colors, expressive faces, and spot-on pacing.

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