Review of Fibbed

Fibbed Fibbed
by Elizabeth Agyemang; illus. by the author
Intermediate, Middle School    Razorbill/Penguin    256 pp.   g
6/22    978-0-593-20488-7    $22.99
Paper ed.  978-0-593-20490-0    $14.99
e-book ed.  978-0-593-35234-2    $8.99

Stories and truths cross paths in Agyemang’s debut graphic novel. After twelve-year-old Nana (“It’s ‘­NAH-na,’ not ‘NAN’”) makes up one too many tales, landing her in the principal’s office again, her parents send her to Ghana to spend the summer with her extended family, including her grandmother, who is also a storyteller. While adjusting to life in her mother’s childhood village, Nana stumbles upon an evil company that’s stealing the village forest’s magic and killing it in the process. She then finds herself negotiating with Ananse, trickster spider and bearer of the world’s stories. Agyemang herself spins this tale by drawing upon stories of the past. Classic folktales come to life through energetic folk art–style illustrations capturing the vibrant setting and colorful Ghanaian attire. Most striking is Ananse’s versatile human-spider form, which shifts around adroitly through the panels. Exploring themes of fitting in, honoring tradition, enacting social justice, and finding one’s truth, the book takes readers on a voyage of self-discovery while demonstrating the magical power of stories and their ability to reach across cultures and generations.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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