The Night ­Marchers and Other Oceanian Tales

Iron Circus. (Cautionary Fables and Fairytales). Apr. 2021. 272p. ed. by Ashwin, Kate & others, eds. pap. $15. ISBN 9781945820793.
Gr 6 Up–Ranging in tone from sweet to chilling, 17 Oceanian tales, retold by primarily #OwnVoices comic creators, fill this robust addition to the “Cautionary Fables and Fairytales” series. One of the strongest entries, Yiling Changues’s “The Legend of the Coconut Tree,” tells the Maui coconut tree creation myth from the perspective of the slaughtered eel, casting the slippery creature as a sad, sympathetic, scorned king who lost his greatest love. Cy Vendivil’s “The Turtle and the Lizard” follows two scrappy characters trying to escape the clutches of hungry humans; a quick segment lays out the basics of Baybayin, an old Tagalog script. Iole Marie Rabor’s “Tabi Po” and Diigii Daguna’s “The Tyrant Has Horns” make excellent use of shadow and contrast to set a menacing tone. Though all the tales are rendered in black and white, they vary in artistic style, reflecting the diversity of the region. Nicole Mannino’s “The Story of Benito” has a traditional comic book look; the inspired shading in Sloane Leong’s “The Hula Mano” is eerie.
VERDICT Readers will want to revisit this collection. Many will be inspired to seek out other installments in the series and research the cultures from which these rich tales originate.

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