Arthur is an unusual boy. He collects odd little bits, explores the forest, and helps end tiny wars between goblins and fairies. He’s not anyone’s first choice to go talk to Thor. But when a giant dog attacks your town, you have to send someone, right? At times, he feels “impossibly small and helpless” but he’s got imagination, so, of course, he’ll save the day.
Sometimes I wonder about a book’s target audience. It can be a perfectly wonderful story, illustrated by really amazing artists, but I find myself worrying it won’t find its home with the group it’s meant for. Generally, publishers don’t put out picture book/graphic novels about small boys who interact with Norse gods for the middle-aged me, for example. I might read it and love it, but how’s it going to get to the right young ones who will appreciate it for what it is? (Well, I will talk about it A LOT, but who listens to me?)
Arthur and the Golden Rope is kind of a hybrid–part comic, part picture book. I can see it appealing to a lot of elementary-aged kids, so I hope the school market is its target, and that it’s part of a longer series. (This is the first I’ve seen, but there’s another if you search for it. Still, we need more!) It could appeal to reluctant readers, who might be willing to try it as part of a graphic/comic series, and it’s filled with more challenging words (realms, solemnly, descended, meddlers, minions—things like that) which might even make it more enjoyable to some. The connections with Norse mythology are fun and a perfect lead-in to longer books about mythology – Odd and the Frost Giants, Pandora Gets Jealous, Rick Riordan’s books, and all the many non-fiction options. Kind of a gateway drug to mythology, if you think about it.
Arthur and the Golden Rope (Brownstone’s Mythical Collection) by Joe Todd-Stanton