|Death & Sparkles (Death & Sparkles)
Author: Justus, Rob
Being Death is a lonely job, especially when everything you touch instantly dies (not to mention the paperwork); but being Sparkles the Last Unicorn is not much fun either, since everyone just wants to take selfies with you or use you to sell stuff--but when Death and Sparkles meet between life and, well, death, it is the beginning of a friendship that just might change the world. In graphic novel format.
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/21)
School Library Journal (12/01/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/09/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 12/01/2021 Gr 4–8—Outgoing Sparkles the unicorn is a beloved celebrity who promotes sunshine, rainbows, candy, flowers, cupcakes, and socks; his agent handles merchandising and promotion. Death, or at least an avatar of death who works as a "collections agent," makes his lonely daily rounds and files paperwork for each collected soul. When a publicity stunt goes wrong, Death collects Sparkles's soul, only for Sparkles to be sent back to the realm of the living from the great beyond. Sparkles is assigned to find a greater purpose in life, which starts with removing his horn from Death's behind. Together, they wander from Death's organized, solitary perch to the chaos of nature and people, opening up to each other along the way. Meanwhile, a group of alien lizards who want to spread an eco-conscious message on Earth replace Sparkles in the influencer hierarchy, rebranding themselves as the Lizard Bros. Justus's jokes about death, marketing, and the fickle nature of fame are both playful and morbid, as when Death accidentally kills a crowd at a party. Gentle art, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, softens what could have been a far darker story. The narrative's point of view jumps around a lot, but readers should not have any trouble keeping track of the vibrant personalities and their motives. VERDICT Introverts and extroverts alike will unite watching true friendship blossom between Death and a magic unicorn.—Thomas Maluck, Richland Lib., SC - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.