The Moth Keeper

Random House Graphic. Mar. 2023. 272p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9780593182277; pap. $13.99. ISBN 9780593182260.
Gr 3-6–Luminous panels of sequential art star in the latest middle grade fantasy from O’Neill (Tea Dragon Society). Elfin-eared Anya has taken on the responsibility of Moth Keeper for the night village, shepherding the lunar moths on which her people rely to sustain the annual blooming of a flower necessary to their night-dwelling ways. But when Anya, growing weary from her strenuous duties and feeling a pull to experience life in the daylight, takes a trip to visit the sunlit day world, the story traces what befalls her people because of her stepping away from her responsibilities to the lunar moths, and how she makes amends. Among the supporting cast of multihued, nocturnal desert dwellers is Anya’s supportive mentor and an ever-loyal sidekick, Estell, who appears to rely on a cane for mobility. While Anya’s role is a lonely one, the story emphasizes how the villagers all have a responsibility to one another, reminding readers that “knowing when to ask for help is a form of wisdom.” The artwork glows with both moth- and lantern-light against the dark blues of night, and the daylit desert bakes under oranges and yellows.
VERDICT A gorgeous and dynamic visual experience with a familiar yet well-told plot.

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