First Test: Protector of the Small

Random House Graphic. (Protector of the Small: Bk. 1). Jul. 2024. 160p. adapted by Devin Grayson. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780307931566.
Gr 6 Up–Pierce’s graphic novel adaptation of the fantasy book of same name is a character-driven adventure. Giants, spidren, and ogres do not scare Kel, a 10-year-old girl whose dream is to become a knight. When Kel is accepted as a page with a one-year probationary period, she is frustrated to be treated differently than the boys. Kel soon learns that her time at The Royal Palace will not be easy. Almost nightly fights with the other pages, having her lance tampered with to make it heavy, and being called names like “the Lump” are all a part of the grueling hazing experience she endures. When she stands up for several of her peers who have been bullied by a specific group of pages, Kel slowly begins to make her own friendships after showing them what it means to defend themselves. Kel is a strong-willed girl, a fierce warrior, and a caring individual; readers will love her determination. Farrow’s illustrations bring the world of Tortall to life. The expressive characterizations perfectly demonstrate Kel’sexperiences and emotions as she makes this tough journey. Kel is white; there is some variation in skin tones of the secondary and background characters. Back matter includes a list of characters and glossary terms that have been and will be used in future books to come.
VERDICT This graphic novel adaptation of the fantasy novel is a captivating look into the world of Tortall and its newest fierce page.

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