Rise of the Halfling King
Rise of the Halfling King

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Annotation: A middle grade graphic novel follows the adventures of a magical boy from Maya mythology. The first of a series based on ancient Mesoamerican myths and legends.
Catalog Number: #220118
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 64
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-947627-37-6 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8449-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-947627-37-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8449-8
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
A halfling child challenges a cruel king for the throne.Almah, an apprentice witch in Kabak, a city in the Yucatan Peninsula, receives from the elfin beings known as Aluxes a magic stone and a drum that “will announce the true king of Uxmal.” As years go by, Kinich Kak Ek takes the throne in Uxmal, but the sorcerer Zaatan Ik prophesies a challenger: Not born of a woman, the usurper will take Kinich Kak Ek’s throne once he bangs the kingmaker drum and conquers three challenges. Unbothered by the prophecy, the king annexes neighboring cities and imposes on them rules and punishments. Almah asks the gods for help for her people and receives a response in the shape of an Alux halfling boy, Sayam, who hatches from an egg. When Zaatan Ik releases on a defiant city a serpent from the underworld, he sets in motion a series of events that will change Sayam’s fate along with the rest of Uxmal. In the first of 10 graphic novels to adapt his work Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky (2018), David Bowles pairs up with illustrator Charlene Bowles to bring Mesoamerican heroes to life. With seemingly simple yet vivid illustrations characterized by strong, dynamic lines, the illustrator develops cunning and endearing characters to populate this enticing tale. In an afterword, the author shares the historical significance of Maya storytelling and its connection to today’s graphic novels.An unmissable adventure of mythical proportions. (Graphic fantasy. 8-14)
School Library Journal
Gr 48 In this tale drawn from Mesoamerican myth, Sayam, a stouthearted halfling, deposes a tyrant. Uxmal, a Yucatán city, thrived for a century before King Kinich Kak Ek brought it under his yoke. When the king's sorcerer, Zaatan Ik, warns him that a man not born of woman will seize his throne, the heedless Kinich begins expanding his empire and brutalizing subjugated peoples. Eventually, Zaatan Ik unleashes an underworld serpent on a city that won't surrender, precipitating the king's downfall. Years earlier, fairy-like aluxes presented Almah, a witch in nearby Kabah, with a drum that would proclaim Uxmal's rightful king and she's been raising Sayam, an alux-human hybrid, since he hatched from an egg. As the drum sounds, a worthy ruler rises. In an afterword, David Bowles likens graphic novels to the predominantly visual hieroglyphics Mesoamericans employed in their written records. The first installment in a 10-volume series converting his Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky to a graphic format, this book reads the way that a folk tale is traditionally heard: It's fast, vivid, and action-laden. Since archetypes require little elaboration, readers freed from the burden of intricate characterization can instead attend to the story's cultural context and perennial themes. Charlene Bowles melds the stylizations of historical codices and scrolls with livelier, rounded linework typical of modern comics to create an engaging accompaniment to the concise text. Characters are all Indigenous Mayans. VERDICT An obvious buy for those that already have plenty of titles featuring Greco-Roman and Norse deities. Steven Thompson, Bound Brook Memorial P.L., NJ
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A halfling child challenges a cruel king for the throne.Almah, an apprentice witch in Kabak, a city in the Yucatan Peninsula, receives from the elfin beings known as Aluxes a magic stone and a drum that “will announce the true king of Uxmal.” As years go by, Kinich Kak Ek takes the throne in Uxmal, but the sorcerer Zaatan Ik prophesies a challenger: Not born of a woman, the usurper will take Kinich Kak Ek’s throne once he bangs the kingmaker drum and conquers three challenges. Unbothered by the prophecy, the king annexes neighboring cities and imposes on them rules and punishments. Almah asks the gods for help for her people and receives a response in the shape of an Alux halfling boy, Sayam, who hatches from an egg. When Zaatan Ik releases on a defiant city a serpent from the underworld, he sets in motion a series of events that will change Sayam’s fate along with the rest of Uxmal. In the first of 10 graphic novels to adapt his work Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky (2018), David Bowles pairs up with illustrator Charlene Bowles to bring Mesoamerican heroes to life. With seemingly simple yet vivid illustrations characterized by strong, dynamic lines, the illustrator develops cunning and endearing characters to populate this enticing tale. In an afterword, the author shares the historical significance of Maya storytelling and its connection to today’s graphic novels.An unmissable adventure of mythical proportions. (Graphic fantasy. 8-14)
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Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: 4-7

A middle grade graphic novel follows the adventures of a magical boy from Maya mythology. The first of a series based on ancient Mesoamerican myths and legends. Sayam has always been different from other kids--he's very short for his age, his best friend is a monkey, and most curious of all: he was born from an egg! His grandmother, a witch, found him and taught him all the ancient magic she uses to help her people. So when a giant snake starts terrorizing a nearby city, Sayam decides it's time for him to use his knowledge to help others, and steps into action. But the beast might not be Sayam's biggest problem: the ruthless King Kinich Kak Ek sees Sayam as a threat to his throne. Prophecy declares that whoever succeeds at three impossible tests will be king. Monstrous snakes and impossible tests are a lot for a boy to handle, but Sayam is brave and has a loyal monkey, a wise grandmother, and magical knowledge on his side! Fans of adventure tales with a mythological focus--such as Bowles' previous work with Latin American myths, The Chupacabras of the Rio Grande and the Garza Twin series, as well as Rick Riordan Presents, especially the Storm Runner novels--will love this exciting and accessible graphic novel. Rise of the Halfling King is also an invaluable educational tool for middle school students--it's a well-researched introduction to Maya culture, made accessible by an expert in Mesoamerican culture and juvenile literature. Bowles previously stitched together tales from Maya, Aztec, and other ancient mythology from pre-Columbian Mexico in the critically-acclaimed YA book, Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky . David Bowles is a Mexican American author and educator based in South Texas. He has written fourteen books. His middle grade novel-in-verse They Call Me Güero has been the recipient of numerous honors such as the Pura Belpré Honor, the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award, the Claudia Lewis Award for Excellence in Poetry, the Walter Dean Myers Honor Award for Outstanding Children's Literature, the Texas Institute of Letters Best Middle Grade Book Award, the Skipping Stones Award; the book is also an Américas Book Award Commended Title and was named in the Bluebonnet Award Masterlist. Some of his other books are Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky and The Smoking Mirror . Charlene Bowles is a comic artist and illustrator based in Texas. She graduated from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2018. Rise of the Halfling King is her debut graphic novel and her work has also been featured on the covers of the award-winning Garza Twins books. She is currently developing many of her own comic projects.


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