Slick Dungeon here and I was just thinking about some of the books that made me love fantasy. While I love reading books like Lord of the Rings, I also love a good graphic novel. And for kids, sometimes a more complex fantasy book can be boring. So I thought I would give you my recommendations for five fantasy graphic novels that I think all kids should read. At what age they should read them is entirely dependent on the kid but the subject matter in these is age appropriate for kids under 12 in general. Here are my top five.
This book starts out with a major tragedy so just a fair warning there but it gets us into a magical land full of Elven kings, mechanical rabbits, giant robots and a brother and sister fighting against evil. The tragedy at the beginning is worth every page thereafter, the art is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s a magical read. It’s not overly word heavy, so even early readers can enjoy a good portion of this.
While my favorite version of this story is the original book, the graphic novel makes great use of tone and setting to set a visually stunning story. This is more of a dark fantasy than an epic fantasy and some kids do get scared by it. I can see how the other mother could creep someone out but honestly, I think it’s healthy for kids to have a good scare now and again. And this book is utterly memorable and a great ride for kids.
3. Oddly Normal
It’s tough having a mother from a magical land and a father from Earth. Oddly Normal is ten years old and just wants to make friends at school. Making a wish when blowing out her candles on her birthday cake leads her to travel to Fignation to uncover the mystery of her parents disappearance and a fantastical adventure fighting monstrous bullies and Evil itself. With sophisticated literary references, this makes this a good read for adults too. A vampire named Bram? Count me in.
2. The Witch Boy
Boys become shapeshifters and girls become witches. 13 year old Aster has not shifted and his real interest is in witchery. This book takes on gender stereotypes while still providing a wholly satisfying fantasy story. The artwork is charming and it’s great for kids ages 8-12 but I think it’s still a great read even if you are older.
This is Jeff Smith’s opus and it is magnificent. This ran for 15 years and you used to only be able to get it in black and white single issues. Now you can get the whole volume in lovely color for a reasonable price. Don’t let the cartoonish look of the three main characters fool you, this is a complex and interesting story. It’s an epic fantasy that can stand alongside the best of them. If you read the second volume, The Great Cow Race, and are not charmed by it, you have no heart or no soul. And if you stick with it until the end, you will be able to see what a beautiful, well crafted, and intelligent story this is. If you don’t read a single other book I recommend here, pick this one up, trust me, it’s worth it.
These next two have content that some parents might find a little mature for under 12 but it really depends on the child and the family. I think that there are definitely kids under 12 this is suitable for but not all parents and families will love some of the content. For this reason, I would say that I still recommend these but you may just want to give a read before giving it to your kids. And hey, you might find out that you love these too!
The Mice Templar
This is about an order of mice Templar who once preserved order in the natural world. The brotherhood was broken and now predators and scavenger creatures rule the land. One mouse is prophesied to change the world. This is listed as for ages 13-16, mainly because the dialogue can be more complex than some of the others on this list and because there is a fair amount of violence in it. It’s a complicated and gripping read though, and well worth the time. A good reader at age 10 who can stomach a little bit of battlefield action is probably okay to read this. Still, like I said, be sure to read ahead if you don’t know if you are comfortable with your kid reading this.
Elfquest is the longest running independent fantasy series in the USA. It lasted for a whopping 40 years exactly. With a series that long running, there is clearly an appeal to it. There are things here that can be considered more mature and not just when it comes to violence if you know what I mean. But it’s such an epic tale that I think almost any kid or adult could easily latch onto it. There’s a huge story here and it would be nearly impossible for me to summarize it, so let me just say, it’s one of the greatest epic fantasy tales ever told.
There you have it. Let me know what you thought of my list. Did I miss your favorite? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my TBR list if I haven’t heard of it.
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