The City on the Other Side is an entertaining graphic novel by collaborators Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson. This talented duo does a great job of speaking to their audience through color, fantasy, and great dialogue. Particularly enjoyable are several beautifully-colored two-page spreads depicting San Francisco’s Chinatown inhabited with creatures from another dimension and scenes from a fantastical land.
Although the artwork is gorgeous and the writing is well executed, the story may be a little difficult to follow, especially for its intended younger audience. The reviewer gets the feeling there’s just too much story here for one book. And, while the way the children learn to thrive without their parents could be empowering, it might also be a little scary or disturbing. However, with perseverance and a little help, even young readers will be able to connect with the likeable protagonists and their fantastical friends.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by First Second Books
Violence/Gore: A non-human character is hit in the head with no injuries; a non-human character is found with arrows protruding from the back, some gore, injuries are not fatal; in the aftermath of an earthquake, several white mounds are seen–it’s understood that they are bodies of the dead covered with sheets; in an extended scene (6 pgs), characters engage in hand-to-hand combat–no gore, no serious injury; a character is threatened at sword point; in a black and white flashback, a non-human character is seen with her chest cut open–no gore; later, the same character is seen with the same opened chest as she is restored to health; children fight with a non-human character and are threatened, no injuries; in an extended scene (6 pgs), non-human characters swordfight–one falls to his death–no gore.
Mature Subject Matter:
Parental neglect, loss of family members, racism, war, natural disaster, poverty.
Alcohol / Drug Use: