Malice in Ovenland by Micheline Hess is a graphic novel for children. Lily Brown’s mom tells her to clean the kitchen- and her adventure begins.

An excellent pick for reluctant readers, this story is a cute, gross, and, endearing romp through a fantastical world hidden behind an oven.

Lily’s heroic journey reminded me of the comic series, Princeless by Jeremy Whitley. In Princeless, the heroine tires of waiting for a prince to come save her, so, she sets about saving herself.

Lily is no wilting flower either, despite her name. 🙂

With art and a storyline appropriate for the pre-teen crowd and an empowered female protagonist, I could see this being a great addition to any juvenile’s graphic art collection.

What I enjoyed most about Malice in Ovenland were the homages to other great works of children’s literature.

The obvious one, of course, is to Alice in Wonderland but I also caught shades of the Lord of the Rings in the poem included at the end of Chapter 1.

The moment that Crumb comes to visit Lily in the dungeon reminded me of when Taran met Gurgi in the Black Cauldron.

The Queen’s advisor, named Crispodemus, reminded me of Nicodemus the rat from the classic children’s story, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O’Brien. (One of my all-time favorites, by the way)

And finally, The Royal Rangers reminded me of the Beagle Boys from Duck Tales– bumbling, minimally intelligent thugs, who would be harmless if they weren’t so determined to be bad.

Malice in Ovenland would be a great title for a reluctant reader or a reluctant eater. The story, in addition to the adventure, teaches kids to not be afraid to try new things- either food or life related.

It’s a message that can’t be repeated enough.

The humor is mainly gross-out or potty-related but, as a mother of a soon-to-be-10 year old, that’s exactly where her humor is at right now. It’s perfect for the audience that it is seeking.

Big thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free digital edition of this title for review purposes and thanks for reading!


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