Book review: Last of the Sandwalkers, by Jay Hosler

Hosler, Jay. Last of the Sandwalkers. First Second. 2015. $16.99. 312p. 978-1-62672-024-4. Ages 10-15. P8Q9

Hosler Last of the SandwalkersScience and fantasy join in this view of the world from beetles, starring half-inch-tall Lucy, who live in New Coleopolis under a large palm tree at the edge of the desert. (Old Coleopolis had been destroyed by falling coconuts.) In this civilization, bugs write books, run restaurants, and become scientists—although the elders quell them. Wearing her baseball cap, Lucy defies the controlling leaders by taking a team of researchers into the wilds. One of the team of five is evil Professor Owen, determined to scuttle the expedition, and the others—left on their own—meet spiders, bats, birds, and even a human skeleton, a mystery to all of them. Great dialog and character personalities make this black and white graphic novel an exciting read for even the most scientific challenged. Themes include determination, friendship, and family loyalty shown by the bonding of adoptees Lucy and her brother, a Goliath beetle, with their parents. Central to the plot is the rejection of the authoritarian theocracy that distorts scientific truths. Earlier Hosler graphic narratives present natural selection (Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth) and human genetics (The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA). Hosler’s earlier Clan Apis explores the world of bees. Sandwalkers’ view of entomology concludes with extensive notes on scientific information and an extensive scientific bibliography. Think an epic comparable to Redwall or Watership Down in graphic form.

September 2015 review by Nel Ward.

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