This Was Our Pact

by Ryan Andrews

Every year during the Autumn Equinox Festival, villagers light lanterns and send... read more

Every year during the Autumn Equinox Festival, villagers light lanterns and send them down the river, believing they will journey as stars to the Milky Way. This year, Ben and his friends make a pact: They’ll follow the lanterns on their bicycles to see where they actually end up. Soon everyone but Ben and brown-skinned Nathaniel, a straggler who doesn’t quite fit in with the group, has given up and turned back. The two boys cross the bridge into a magical parallel universe, where they meet a talking fisherbear in search of fish—or are they the lanterns?—that appear each equinox. When they become separated from the bear and lose their way, they stumble upon a telephone that connects them to Madam Majestic, who lives in a Cliffside hideaway, concocts potions, and is willing to draw them a map while she awaits the arrival of the mysterious Enlightened Ones, whom she fears may be lost in the fog. Reminiscent of a Miyazaki film, this otherworldly graphic novel evokes the enchantment of nighttime and the tendency of a perilous adventure to strengthen the bonds of friendship. (Ages 9–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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