I always love finding new graphic novels and comics so I was thrilled when I got the chance to join First:Second’s Girl Power Graphic Novels Blog Tour.
While all of the comics were delightful, a new favorite quickly emerged the moment I opened Cucumber Question: The Doughnut Kingdom (2017) and its sequel Cucumber Quest: The Ripple Kingdom (2018) by Gigi D. G.
In Dreamside in a house in the Doughnut Kingdom a young rabbit named Cucumber is preparing to head to magic school. His plans are dashed when his parents reveal that Cucumber is the latest in a line of Legendary Heroes and it is his destiny to save The Doughnut Kingdom and Dreamside from the Nightmare Knight.
While Cucumber appreciates the predicament, he’d much rather go to magic school and leave saving the world to literally anyone else. Luckily (or perhaps not) Cucumber’s younger sister Almond is all about adventure, swords, and fighting so she is more than ready to drag Cucumber along on this epic quest.
Saving the kingdom won’t be easy when allies include a hapless Dream Oracle and a knight armed with little more than charm and a flimsy spear. The quest will take both young rabbits far from home as they travel across Dreamside to gather the tools they need to save the day.
Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom is a great introduction to D. G.’s vivid and bizarre world (which started life as a webcomic before the volumes were collected by First:Second) as Cucumber and Almond embark on their journey to try and stop the Nightmare Knight. The adventure continues in Cucumber Quest: The Ripple Kingdom when (spoiler) the Nightmare Knight does in fact return and he and his minions need to be stopped–one kingdom at a time.
The first book includes a great map of The Doughnut Kingdom (shown above) and trading card style intros for all of the characters. Volume Two’s bonus material has more character trading cards and a tourist guide to Cucumber and Almond’s next stop: The Ripple Kingdom. D. G. uses a surprisingly color palette that is bright without being jarring. The comic panels are dynamic and filled with amazingly expressive characters.
These comics are zany and incredibly clever. The cast is filled with strong characters including the mysterious thief, Saturday, and the charmingly forgetful Princess Nautilus. Then of course there’s Almond, the girl who would happily save the world if only any of the adults in Dreamside would let her. Cucumber astutely engages with a lot of the obvious flaws in quest stories (How is Cucumber really the best choice for this? Why is it so easy to resurrect the Nightmare Knight anyway? What’s up with his dad in that cell?) while also embodying everything that makes quest stories so fun (reluctant hero! adventure! mayhem!).
I can’t wait to see what happens when Cucumber, Almond, and the rest of their team head to The Ripple Kingdom.
Be sure to check out all of the titles featured on the blog tour too:
- Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter by Marcus Sedgwick and Thomas Taylor: A Victorian tale of derring-do and also girls fighting monsters.
- Cucumber Quest by Gigi D.G: A bunny-filled fantasy adventure of a kingdom in distress and some reluctant (and non-reluctant) heroes.
- The City on the Other Side by Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson: A historical San Francisco adventure of a girl who accidentally ends up in fairyland.
- Star Scouts by Mike Lawrence: A girl scout adventure–but in outer space!
- Monsters Beware! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado: A fantasy adventure of defying expectations and friendship (and monsters).
You can also check out these blog tour stops:
- 4/23 — Novel Novice
- 4/23 — YA Bibliophile
- 4/23 — Miss Print
- 4/23 — Infinite Golden Floors
- 4/24 — The Book Rat
- 4/24 — A Backwards Story
- 4/24 — Green Bean Teen Queen
- 4/24 — Kid Lit Frenzy
- 4/25 — The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia
- 4/25 — Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup
- 4/25 — Daddy Mojo
- 4/25 — Love Is Not a Triangle
- 4/26 — Librarian’s Quest
- 4/26 — Ex Libris Kate
- 4/26 — Bluestocking Thinking
- 4/26 — The Roarbots
- 4/27 — Flavia the Bibliophile
- 4/27 — Book Crushin’
- 4/27 — Charlotte’s Library
- 4/27 — Me on Books