Graphic Novel Review: Little Girls

Little Girls by Nicholas Aflleje & Sarah DeLaine. Image, 2019. 9781534310599. 176pp.

Sam and her father have just moved to Harar, Ethiopia, from Japan, and Sam is dreading another first day of school in a country where she has no friends and doesn’t speak the language. But she’s tough, and that helps her make friends with a tomboy, Lielet.

Two people have been killed. Lielet thinks it’s hyenas or lions, but people are saying they’ve seen a monster with glowing eyes: the kerit. The girls decide to investigate. Outside of town, they find what may be a giant den, when a spooky voice speaks to them (and sends them running for home). Soon there’s another victim. After they’ve gathered more information, they agree to take care of the problem themselves.

It’s a slow-paced, compelling story, with art that makes the book feel super-sized. I’d say more about the art but comics creator Sina Grace said it perfectly in her introduction: “It’s like Geof Darrow drew girl stuff.” It was easy to root for Sam and Lielet — they’re the underdogs in a conflict with a giant man-eating beast. Plus Harar permeates every aspect of the story to create a unique sense of place.


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