Juniper Mae: Knight of Tykotech City

Flying Eye. Mar. 2023. 64p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781912497454.
Gr 2-4–Juniper Mae is a tinkering wunderkind living in Tykotech City, a technological metropolis surrounded by dense forest. Creating inventions using spare parts from her father’s repair store, Juniper is off testing her newest invention, a jetpack she calls the Juni Jet, when Tykotech’s power source surges, causing her to crash land in the forest; there, she meets Albie, a friendly tama-tama (a small creature with “a little shell, and big, orb-like eyes”). Albie takes Juniper to his village, tells her about the humans and tama-tamas’ shared history, and gives her an ancient sword. While visiting the tama-tamas, Juniper discovers that they live in harmony with nature, using energy from the forest plants to power their village. She returns home, accompanied by Albie and determined to use plant power and her own technological knowledge to save Tykotech City and the forest. The incandescent artwork equally embraces both verdant homespun and cool, clean technological aesthetics to give us a new magical girl for readers to follow. Soh respects the reader and delivers a smart story about respect for nature, breaking down established thinking, and being open to new ways of living to create an appealing new series for readers.
VERDICT A plucky heroine, a cute sidekick, and a well-crafted story that will delight readers.

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