ParaNorthern: And the Chaos Bunny A-ho-aclypse is a middle-grade graphic novel written by Stephanie Cooke with art by Mari Costa. It is a wonderful story about a group of loving and supportive friends in a Halloweentown-esque world populated by all stripes of witches, wolf people, ghosts, and pumpkin-heads. As our main character, a young witch named Abby, finds herself out of touch with her magic and accidentally unleashing a portal into her world, she relies on the support of her friends and family to make things right again.
I adore ParaNorthern. Full stop. From its sweet characters to the lovely art direction, to the lessons learned and the plot that unfolds along the way, it’s a delight. Abby is a witch learning to take after her mother in both potion-making skills and coffee shop ownership at the Witch’s Brew. Silas is a pumpkin-headed kid who is politically active and doesn’t abide bullies. Gita is a wolf girl who is always encouraging of her friends and has a hardcore crush on Abby. And Hannah is a ghost from another dimension who wears a head covering, loves her family dearly, and often “forgets” to wear her corporeal charm that lets her touch objects in this dimension, aka it helps her get out of helping with chores. They’re a wonderful, diverse, and loving group that never set unrealistic expectations about friendship—they squabble and get on each others’ nerves, too—but always depict positive pre-teen relationships.
One of my favorite parts of the book is the world it takes place in. While it begins simply by showcasing all different kinds of creatures and people who inhabit it, over the course of the book, we learn about how their community of North Haven came to be and have constant tidbits of moments that excite me for the possibility of future stories in this world or with these characters. They have a fall break instead of a summer break in this world because they’re all Halloween beings. It’s adorable. ☺️ The fact that none of the book’s larger conflicts have anything to do with its diverse denizens is appreciated because it lets diversity and coexistence simply be the norm. The only time when their differences come into play is when Silas is being bullied, but it’s more because of his activism, which often revolves around his identity than his identity itself.
ParaNorthern extends its excellence into the fact that while it makes its points about coexistence, it also gives many moments where characters get to have pride and affinity for their own communities and families. Depicting both the joys of sharing your community and of affinity to your own people is so important for kids who may be trying to navigate that very balance in their own lives.
As for the plot itself, it meanders just a bit, but the story is consistently humorous and paced well enough to never drag along the same scene or subject too long. The art takes on a simple style that does well in highlighting characters’ facial expressions especially. I love the way their eyes, in particular, are used to show emotions, especially when that emotion is either joy or exacerbation. The Autumnal color pallet is lovely, and I would absolutely love to spend more time in North Haven in future stories.
ParaNorthern is a wonderful graphic novel for all ages about the power of not only friendship but of loving yourself and your people as well. Everything about it is totally endearing, and I would love to see more adventures with these characters.
ParaNorthern: And the Chaos Bunny A-ho-aclypse is available wherever comics are sold.
ParaNorthern: And the Chaos Bunny A-ho-aclypse
ParaNorthern is a wonderful graphic novel for all ages about the power of not only friendship, but of loving yourself and your people as well. Everything about it is totally endearing and I would love to see more adventures with these characters.