Stay on the Path!
By David Nytra
Toon Books, $14.95, 80 pages
One morning, siblings Leah and Alan are astonished when they awake to find that they are in the middle of an enchanted forest! Just when they think there might not be a way home, a strange little stone frog speaks in rhyme and gives them clues. Leah and Alan must continue on their adventure and stay on the path.
The Secret of the Stone Frog, by David Nytra, is a graphic novel for kids, starring kids. The real action starts when Alan spots a house he’d like to visit. Of course, in order to reach it the children would have to stray off the path … but maybe the owner has cookies? On their way home, the duo meets fantastic creatures like well-dressed lions, giant rabbits and word-eating bees. It is an exciting adventure, but it could be a bit scary for younger kids.
Reluctant readers will appreciate the combination of illustrations and speech bubbles. Nytra’s black-and-white illustrations are created using a crow quill pen and India ink. Some lines are so fine that a magnifying glass would come in handy for seeing all the detail. The interplay between light and dark creates intricate shadows and glowing sunbeams, dark caves and clear pools of water — all with what at first seems to be a limited color palette of black and white.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin