Last of the Sandwalkers

320p. First Second. 2015. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781626720244.
Gr 5 Up—New Coleopolis is a community of beetles, moths, and a few other insects. The sanctuary is protected under a palm tree. Most residents are content to live within the confines of their oasis, going to school, restaurants, museums, and other routine activities without a thought for what lies beyond. Yet there are a few independent thinkers who yearn to explore the mysterious world away from home. Lucy, in particular, is adamant about venturing out. The group of elders attempts to stop her, as they seem to already know what is out there and will do whatever it takes to keep it a secret. Eventually, Lucy and a small group head out on a grand expedition. Things go awry from the start, and the beetles will be lucky to return safely to New Coleopolis with or without any new information. Friendships and loyalties are tested to their limits as great, potentially life-altering discoveries are made. This graphic novel is reminiscent of Richard Adams's Watership Down, Brian Jacques's "Redwall" series (Philomel), and Robert C. O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of N.I.M.H. Though the characters are not human, they have their own unique and individual characteristics that will resonate with young readers. The black-and-white illustrations adeptly complement the narrative and infuses each protagonist with expressive emotions and personality. The text is well written, complete with scientific information and humorous puns.
VERDICT This epic graphic novel adventure is recommended for fans of animal fantasies.

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