Diana: Princess of the Amazons

DC Comics. Jan. 2020. 144p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781401291112.
Gr 3-6–Diana is the only child on Themyscira, island of the mythic Amazons, and her tween years are a little less enchanting than her storied birth from magic clay. She has outgrown some of her childhood interests, but the adult Amazons, including her mother, Queen Hippolyta, are too busy to play with her. Diana makes a new friend from clay, Mona, who quickly bonds with her and also worries about feeling forgotten. However, Mona nudges Diana into making fun of others, stealing, antagonizing those who correct her, and faking injury to gain sympathy. Diana seems to understand that what she’s doing is wrong, but she doesn’t want to lose her only friend. Readers will enjoy seeing the ins and outs of Amazon life, including Diana’s “aunties,” who have different body sizes and skin colors and fulfill a variety of roles. The island aesthetic consists of green grass, blue skies, and pillared structures with touches of magic, like the Doom’s Doorway that contains monstrous spirits. Ying’s cartoon illustrations convey Diana’s journey from self-doubt to excitement to guilt to, finally, triumphant pride and maturity. Wildlife abounds on the islands, including dolphins, birds, rabbits, felines, and a conspicuous colorful bird that becomes more noticeable on repeat readings. Drawn in sepia, Mona’s design includes shading and highlights that the Amazons don’t have, making her stand out.
VERDICT A young Wonder Woman leads a playful, emotionally astute morality tale about the responsibilities children and adults have to each other. For comics fans and newcomers alike.

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