Mapmakers and the Lost Magic is a debut graphic novel by Cameron Chittock and Amanda Castillo and is intended to be the first in a series of books that follow the main character, Alidade, and her adventures. Alidade constantly pushes the boundaries of what is expected in her community, Alden–which is ruled by the Night Coats–and inevitably lands herself and her best friend, Lewis, in trouble. In the course of her forbidden explorations of the territory surrounding Alden, Alidade discovers a secret entrance to the Valley Lodge, which belonged to the Mapmakers, once the peacekeepers of the valley that Alidade and Lewis call home. Though the Mapmakers are long gone, Alidade finds a hidden map in the lodge and releases Blue, a Memri brought to life by the Mapmakers for the purpose of supporting all life in the valley in their quest to live peacefully and in harmony with their surroundings. All is not peaceful, however, and Alidade’s curiosity and resentment of the Night Coats’ rule leads to her pursuit of becoming a Mapmaker herself under Blue’s tutelage as well as increased insight into the Night Coat’s control of Alden.
THOUGHTS: The Mapmakers’ use of maps to advance its fantasy storyline is unique and well-developed. The book contains subtle environmental messages and lessons about friendship and teamwork that are nearly seamlessly woven into the story, and Amanda Castillo’s illustrations will be accessible both to readers who love the simplicity of the Babysitters Club graphics and those who are attached to more detailed fantasy in graphics. Back matter includes a nature journal entry from Alidade documenting her world; activities, such as crafts and recipes that connect to the story; information on the creation of the graphic novel; and notes from the author and illustrator. There is much here for the reader who is curious about the creation of a graphic novel and the writing process. I think this book will appeal to many of our readers and fly off the shelves. Highly recommended.
Graphic Novel Hannah J. Thomas, Central Bucks SD