Tuesday 10 October 2017

Review on Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power!

Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types is the best summer camp around! From working towards badges, to making friends with fellow Lumberjanes, there's never a dull moment at camp, especially when you happen to stumble upon a unicorn! When April, Jo, Ripley, Mal and Molly come across a lost unicorn, they decide to help it find it's way home. However, their adventures go astray when they decide to climb a mountain. A mountain that isn't on any maps, and seems to be undiscovered. The five friends soon find themselves stuck in the clouds with no way back down. Will the girls find a way back to camp, or will they be stuck drinking cloudy tea forever?

So I have to admit that I've never actually read the Lumberjanes comic books. I don't tend to read many comic books, so although I had heard of them before, I'd never actually picked one up. However, novels are definitely my thing, and when I got an email from Abrams asking me if I wanted to review a novel adaptation of the comics, I of course accepted!

The book follows April Ripley, Jo, Molly and Mal, a group of scouts who share at cabin at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. While working towards their Living the Plant Life badge, Ripley discovers a unicorn wondering through the forest. Ripley does what we would all do in that situation, which is of course scream and run after it. The girls soon discover a whole rave of unicorns, along with a huge mountain. A mountain that has never been documented on a map. A mountain that seemingly doesn't even exist!

The first thing that I noticed about this book was that the text is GREEN! I was concerned about my eyesight for a moment before realising that nope, it actually was green. I've never come across a book with green text before, and as green is one of my favourite colours, this made me very happy! As this is a children's book, I thought this was quite a clever design choice, as children are always more interested in colourful things. The green text along with the short chapters and gorgeous illustrations made it the perfect transition between picture books and chapter books.

One of the many things I adored about this book was the focus on the importance of friendship. I love seeing strong friendships between girls, as girls can often be horrible to each other, so having a group of girls loving and supporting each other was lovely to see. I loved that although each girl had different interests, they all supported each others hobbies, and helped out even if the activity wasn't something they enjoyed much. This was such a positive message, and I loved how it showed that girls don't have to limit themselves to fit into the female gender roles. Girls can pursue any hobby and achieve anything!

I loved each girls unique personality, especially Ripley's. I just loved how she was constantly energetic and having fun, and how she greeted strangers with a hug. Really we need more Ripley's in the world. I also adored April, the leader of the group. I loved how although she was brave and confident most of the time, she also had a moment where she doubted herself. April feels as if she has to single handedly get the girls back to safety, but has no idea how. I felt as if the girls helping her showed that some tasks are just too big to take on alone, and it's ok to ask for help.

So I have to talk a little about Barney, who despite being a side character, was extremely important. Although we aren't told in detail how Barney identifies, we are told that they use they/them pronouns rather than he/she. I have never come across a fictional character before who uses they/them pronouns, so I was a mixture of shocked, excited and happy to find out this information about Barney. I loved the way Barney was treated by the girls, as no fuss was made over their preferred pronouns at all, and they were treated the same as everyone else at the camp. This was such a positive message to young non binary and gender fluid people, as they are often ostracised and bullied by their peers. By not making a big deal over Barney's gender identity, the book took us in the right direction to normalise children like Barney for younger generations. Clearly there are not enough characters like Barney in middle grade and YA fiction, the age range where people can struggle with how they choose to identify. I really hope this book can pave the way for more authors to include characters like Barney in their books! While I'm on the subject of diversity, I adored the fact that Jo had gay dads. I was so happy how this was casually thrown in, and the drag race comment was comedy genius!

I honestly don't think I have anything negative to say about this book except that I wanted it to be longer! I'm usually not a huge fan of cliffhangers, but the ending definitely made me want to continue reading this series. This is an important book that I think all children would enjoy, as I think all children would benefit from discovering how awesome girls truly are! I adore the Lumberjanes and will definitely be looking into getting hold of the comics.

Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! is now available to purchase!

  | Amazon Book Depository

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