A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Witch Boy is a fantasy graphic novel that explores issues of diversity and identity. Compelling but not scary, the book follows a boy as he experiments with "women's magic." Aster endures some bullying, but it is more psychological than physical. And there's no mature content to worry about.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
At the start of THE WITCH BOY, Aster is frustrated that he can't shape-shift like the rest of the boys in his family. He's more interested, however, in practicing the magic that girls are allowed to do and he's expressly forbidden from doing. But when his peers start mysteriously disappearing, Aster doesn't know whether he should use magic to find them, having been warned that it could lead to disaster. With the help of a new friend from the non-magical side of town, he must learn to be true to himself if he wants to help others.
Is it any good?
Although it's sometimes a little too obvious in its intentions, this middle grade graphic novel promotes the idea that boys should be allowed to explore the things that interest girls and vice versa. Aster is a sensitive and compassionate protagonist, and author-illustrator Molly Ostertag gives him enough edges to make him interesting. With lively and accessible art, she choreographs a compelling confrontation between Aster and the mysterious villain and devises a satisfying resolution, leaving the door open to further adventures. No matter what happens next, The Witch Boy is an engaging middle grade graphic novel, one likely to appeal to a wide range of readers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Witch Boy explores gender roles. Why is it assumed that some activities are for girls only or for boys only?
Why are comics and graphic novels so popular? What kinds of effects can they achieve that are not possible in prose alone?
How are traditions passed down from generation to generation? Do people always know how and why traditions start?
- Author: Molly Ostertag
- Illustrator: Molly Ostertag
- Genre: Graphic Novel
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Great Boy Role Models, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Graphix
- Publication date: October 31, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: December 14, 2018
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.