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Review: Kerry and the Knight of the Forest

Cover of Kerry and the Knight of the Forest

Kerry and the Knight of the Forest
By Andi Watson
RH Graphic, Ages 8-12

En route with vital medicine for his sick parents, a boy named Kerry is led astray in the dark woods by an enchanted child spirit. Now lost and alone and trapped in a bleak forest without a friend in sight, Kerry must try and find his way out and discover a little about himself along the way in Andi Watson’s delightful full-color graphic novel from RH Graphic. 

Fans of animated shows such as Over the Garden Wall and the Hilda graphic novel series will find themselves at home here in this dark tale filled with humor, compassion, and heart. Completely lost on how to find his way back to the town of Meadowsweet, Kerry soon encounters the creatures of the forest including a talking snail who instructs Kerry to seek out the Old Knight of the Road to help him find his way back home. Little does Kerry realize that the Knight isn’t a man in armor but a black obelisk with one eye called the Waystone who befriends Kerry. Now the two of them journey together through the menacing woods as they escape from the spirit of the forest who has driven out all the creatures of woods. The forest is corrupt, and the forest is teeming with dark creatures, including swamp bats, one-eyed seedings, a will-o-wisp, a swamp monster, monstrous Gorse, and more. Along the journey Kerry and the Waystone find that they have a lot in common as they struggle to find their true paths to inner peace. Both Kerry and the Waystone must make some tough choices on their journey to safely escape from the clutches of the spirit of the forest and rescue Kerry’s sick parents. 

Andi Watson is no stranger to comics. He’s been a staple for teens (Skeleton Key), adults (Breakfast After Noon and Slow News Day), and kids (Glister, Gum Gum, and Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula) for years. With his first full color graphic novel at RH Graphic, Andi Watson continues his trademark focus on characters that are likable and unique. Though there’s little exposition from the get-go, we feel for Kerry right from the start as he’s at a literal crossroad: Does he take the straight path to Meadowsweet (which could take a day longer) or a shortcut through the dark menacing path? Watson’s art style is minimalistic—there are no great details to the characters, but the details are in the surroundings and the setting with ample darkness. The beasts of the forest and the forest themselves are designed with great focus on crosshatches and shading. Color-wise, the palettes that Watson uses are muted tones of browns, purples, greys, yellows, and more that help to convey the tone of the journey of Kerry and Waystone. It’s Andi Watson’s first journey into using colors in his work, and it’s a welcome addition to his art style. 

Also included in the book is a fun character guide D&D-style with the ratings of each of the character’s strength, speed, agility and more. Watson also allows the young readers to come up with their own characters and create their own ratings as well. Young readers in middle school will have a fun time joining Kerry on his journey into the foreboding forest. 

Mike Pawuk About Mike Pawuk

Mike Pawuk has been a teen services public librarian for the Cuyahoga County Public Library for over 15 years. A lifelong fan of comic books and graphic novels, he was chair for the 2002 YALSA all-day preconference on graphic novels, served as a judge for the Will Eisner Awards in 2009, as well as helped to create the Great Graphic Novels for Teens selection committee for YALSA. He is the author of Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More, published by Libraries Unlimited in 2006 and is working on a followup to his book.

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