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Review: The Clockwork Girl

The Clockwork Girl, a fantasy-adventure for middle school readers, originally ran as a six-issue comic. Arcana Studios collected those issues into a single volume in 2008, which is now being reprinted through HarperCollins. As its publishing history suggests, The Clockwork Girl continues to find new audiences among readers looking for a fanciful yet heartwarming tale.

The Clockwork Girl
Sean O’Reilly and Kevin Hanna
Grades 5 and up
Harper Collins, 2011, ISBN 978-0062080394
$19.99, 128 p.

In a faraway land, there are two scientists: Wilhem the Tinkerer, who is devoted to the science of technology, and Dendrus the Grafter, who is devoted to the natural sciences. Every year, they meet at the Haraway Fair to show off their latest inventions and compete for the top prize. After Dendrus wins top honors for creating a mutant boy named Huxley, the following year Wilhem takes first prize for making a clockwork girl.

When Huxley and the Clockwork Girl’s paths cross, it is love at first sight. But it is a forbidden love, since their creators – their fathers, really – are at odds. Yet it is the love of these two creatures that finally brings Wilhem and Dendrus to a mutual understanding, proving love’s transcendent power.

While the story is a bit predictable, it is a sweet read. What will grip readers is the lush artwork. The colors are rich and the panels are full of detail, giving readers more than a romantic story; these images offer a beautiful view into this imaginary world.

This title will please young middle-grade readers, and may leave them wanting more. Though the story doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a sequel, I wouldn’t mind knowing what else happens in this far-away land.

(See inside for yourself at:

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Harper Collins

Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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