Garlic and the Vampire (Paperback)
Local Witch Agnes and her vegetable companions’ peaceful lives are thrown into unease when a vampire moves in nearby! And only one vegetable can face him: poor anxiety-ridden Garlic! Garlic is tasked with confronting this vampire in order to help her friends, and her journey becomes one of finding her courage and discovering that people we don't know are not always as terrifying as our anxiety tells us. Absurdly cute and weirdly wonderful, with exemplary autumn vibes, this magical Witchy story is an all-ages, heart-filled adventure to sink your teeth into, with each character vibrant and completely lovable. I've never identified with vegetables so much in my life!
(Graphic Novel, Ages 9+) - reviewed by Isabel
— From Staff Picks by Isabel
September/October 2021 Kids Indie Next List
“Why wouldn’t a living head of garlic make the best vampire-hunter among a garden of vegetables? Garlic isn’t sure she’s the right hero. But when duty calls, she answers.”
— Griffin Mauser, BookPeople, Austin, TX
An enchanting, farm-fresh debut graphic novel starring an unusual heroine who is braver than she realizes, for middle grade readers looking for a cozy, adventuresome read in the vein of Witch Boy or Be Prepared.
Garlic feels as though she’s always doing something wrong. At least with her friend Carrot by her side and the kindly Witch Agnes encouraging her, Garlic is happy to just tend her garden, where it’s nice and safe.
But when her village of vegetable folk learns that a bloodthirsty vampire has moved into the nearby castle, they all agree that, in spite of her fear and self-doubt, Garlic is the obvious choice to confront him. And with everyone counting on her, Garlic reluctantly agrees to face the mysterious vampire, hoping she has what it takes.
After all, garlic drives away vampires…right?
"In this down comforter of a graphic novel, Garlic discovers that she is braver and more capable than she ever believed when she is called upon to save her friends. The color palette is folkloric, drawing on lush earth tones to highlight this cozy little village where people and vegetables live harmoniously—this is cottagecore through and through."
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
"Gorgeous artwork featuring anthropomorphized plants and colors reminiscent of those used in Kate Greenaway stories make this a joy to read... Perfect for chapter-book readers and up, this will delight anyone wanting a light adventure heavy on friendship and self-actualization."
"Readers will cheer Garlic’s growth from anxious to triumphant, though children looking for a spooky vampire tale will soon discover that this depiction is more cheerful than chilling. Delightful."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Debut graphic novelist Paulsen lingers visually on dew-covered cabbages, wonderfully squat produce homes, and other horticultural and domestic delights. Her warm, autumnal palette and attention to shape and contour add to the appeal of the pastoral setting, and comic overreaction brings a cartoon sensibility to the characters’ plight."
— Publishers Weekly
Raw, gritty and acutely tuned to his community, Matt Mendez' debut blends authenticity with poignancy, heartbreak with heartfelt, this emotionally true contemporary story about 2 El Paso teens and a mom of one of the boys, will keep you riveted and engaged. Comparisons to Jason Reynolds, Matt de la Pena and Angie Thomas are accurate but Mendez is a break out star to be watched. This wallop of a tale should be handed to high school kids en masse. - Maureen